Crystal Dreams

March 30, 2017

In which I talk about Club Penguin Island (and a bit on Browser/Mobile games in general)

So, if you’re new here, you may be wondering why I’d be talking about something like Club Penguin Island. The short answer is I played Club Penguin, so why wouldn’t I try the new version of the game? The long version is that, no matter how many years have passed, I’ve always had a soft-spot for Multiplayer Online games. What separates Browser games like these and MMORPGs, which tend to be what jumps into mind first if you mention an MMO, is that Browser MMOs tend to be more relaxing. There are definitely some that are very similar to the MMORPGs, but most of the time, the key things you do in Browser MMOs are Explore, Collect, and/or Dress-up and those are the three things that I tend to enjoy most in games.

Even though I didn’t play Club Penguin much anymore, I did at least try and poke in for events and other things. I had a lot of items I really loved and an Igloo I enjoyed and while there were also many items I missed that I would have liked, I still enjoyed checking out the new parties and new items so I was upset to see they were closing the original to make way for a new mobile-based game. In general, while I don’t necessarily mind mobile games, I kind of hate touch screens and find them uncomfortable to play along with many being common games with super pay to win aspects and/or forced waiting/stamina bars.

The biggest difference between the Mobile game and the original Club Penguin is a huge graphic upgrade and full voice acting. And I’ll be honest, I could care less about either of those. As Club Penguin Island stands right now, it’s kind of disappointing for one specific reason only: There’s not much to do. I mean, my Penguin is pretty cute, but I’ve still essentially run out of things to do:

When there is stuff to do, ignoring the awful controls, it’s actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, Adventures and some of the Daily Missions are exclusive to Members and while there is a free trial for a week, it gives very little for non-members to do. And the trial would seem more rewarding if you literally didn’t get stuck waiting until the next day to do things again.

I really adore the Adventure feature, but despite doing all my daily missions, I did not get my “Pirate Status” up enough for Rockhopper’s next mission and Aunt Arctic’s next mission will not be available until tomorrow. This is an example of what I mean by forced waiting. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were other things to do, but the adventures are currently the funnest part of the game.

More or less, the things you can do in the game are:
1. Explore one of 3 Maps (the Boardwalk, Cove, and Cave–you can also dive underwater which can bring you to a few tiny areas, but not much you can do in those places)
2. Collect coins and various items to trade in for coins.
3. Adventure
4. Buy and/or Make Clothes (Creating clothes is exclusive to members though)

The only Clothes you can buy right now are Disney Collaborative stuff. Otherwise, you can spend your coins on “Party Supplies” which are cheap holdable items that you can interact with/use. You can also interact with certain things in the environment, but in general, the game feels much more geared to social aspects and if you’re not chatting/hanging out with people, the only thing to really do otherwise after finishing your Adventures and Dailies is to earn coins.

And Coins just… don’t have enough use right now. I mean, I guess saving up is good, but most stuff respawns and there isn’t really a huge rush. Maybe if you’re not a Member as the things that give the most coins are locked out (Adventures and Fishing–only limited to 10 a day as a Member as it is), but I don’t even know if you’ll be spending as much without using the Clothes making feature. I will admit that feature is pretty cool. You get several options and multiple ways to add colors. My only real issue with it is some areas seem to be very limited on how many decals you can add. For example, I wanted to add a kind of belt design to the bottom of a top I had to make and it would not let me add more than one decal to it which made it impossible to do.

Similarly, I don’t really care for the daily missions that require you to wear a certain outfit to finish as it’s often caused me to have to make an outfit I’ll never wear again.

Regardless, it’s like… it could be fun? But there’s just so little to do and the forced time limit on the Adventures makes that stand out even more. I had fun swimming around in the Cave once and exploring all the different areas and finding the throne room, but I’m not going to bother much. And the amount of coins you get for trading items in is so small compared to what you get from Adventures and Missions it just doesn’t feel worth it. I spent a long time collecting everything in each map–Flowers, Coconuts, Seashells, Pearls, Crystals, Crystal Clusters, and more and only got 40-50 each time upon trading everything in. It just didn’t feel worth it to do and after constantly running into multiple technical issues (Free Trial glitch where it didn’t activate and yet said I had it already, constant crashes, some disconnects, etc. I played the opening segment so many times due to things just not working), I stopped playing for the day after maybe only 30 minutes to an hour of actual play time. Which was after 2 hours of issues.

In general, just being able to play or do other things.. Like I hoped maybe I could place the items I found somewhere or like, with the fish I caught, maybe I could hold a fish bowl with them or eventually get them in a igloo-like feature or something, but instead they are automatically turned into coins.

And some of the fish are really nice.

I get that it just came out, but when you just close a game that was opened for years for something that has less areas than the original started, it stands out as an issue. And graphics and voice acting pretty it up, but that doesn’t fix the fact that it’s just… not that fun right now. I’d easily take the old flat graphics and lack of voice acting (heck, I usually played Club Penguin with the sound off) just to have more things to do right now.

There’s no minigames and there’s not much to explore and there’s nothing really to buy. I’ll keep checking in and trying to play and do the Adventures, but I don’t know if I’ll keep up with it once my membership ends.

I will say though that the Controls are my least favorite part though. You’re essentially supposed to play it with two hands–your left thumb being used in a box to move your Penguin around and your right thumb for all interactions and jumping. I had so many issues getting my Penguin to move properly and this made some of the platforming super frustrating and nervewracking to do. This kind of movement should be on a computer or with a controller–not a touch screen.

Poptropica is also going to the route of switching to a new game system due to it being such a big upgrade, but the difference there is that they are keeping the original version up and also letting the new version be available and connected through both mobile and the web which is… great. I probably would be less frustrated with Club Penguin Island if I could play it on the computer like I will be able to with Poptropica Worlds. I’m still apprehensive on that too and also sad a lot of stuff will, once again, not carry over, but I’m looking forward to seeing what new things will be there.

If there is one thing though that has stood out for me from all this though, it’s more on what Animal Crossing Mobile could be too. I’ve mentioned before that I’m fairly worried/apprehensive about it despite my excitement, but this kind of made me think of what I’d like to do. Being able to explore around a town and interact with the World and Collect and not so much building a town so much as taking the simpler parts of Animal Crossing and making it into a fun collectible dress-up game where you can do quests and explore. I don’t want a full Animal Crossing game in mobile format, but considering how Fire Emblem Heroes is a simplified form, I can kind of see Animal Crossing being done in a similar way to do this. I just hope they will still have a good amount of things to do so waiting doesn’t feel as forced. Part of why you can wait a day or hours in Animal Crossing is you can do things with your fish and plant things and flowers, visit friends, work on making your town something, but when all you have to do is “earn money” with nothing really in sight to spend on, it just feels boring and empty.

I really hope Nintendo will bring up Animal Crossing mobile soon. It keeps getting pushed back. I’d like to think we’ll see it before E3, but if not, maybe it’ll come out with an announcement of a future Animal Crossing game.

March 24, 2017

Ramblings about Breath of the Wild

So after 180+ hours, my husband and I finally bothered to beat Ganon and finish the main story of Breath of the Wild. I have been wanting to talk about my various likes and dislikes for a while, but I wanted to at least wait until this point. We still have plans to keep playing (need to get all those Koroks and also working on a World Boss-related thing), but at the very least, most of our goals are done.

This WILL contain spoilers so if you do not want spoilers, you may not want to read this just yet. This also will not be a proper review–if you’re looking for that, reviews will be up on my husband’s website.

That said, this is going to be a bit different than most of my other ramblings as I’m going to be talking from a standpoint of watching more than playing and thus, will focus more on the characters and story and music and things versus controls and gameplay. Zelda is a game I grew up always watching and so each one is like its own movie for me and thus, it’s something that I’ve always gotten more out of watching than playing (though, I still play sometimes). I will say, just to give an idea on what to expect, Ocarina of Time is my favorite Zelda followed by Skyward Sword. I also don’t think it’s possible to really rank Breath of the Wild due to just how different it is, but let’s get to it.

» Read the rest of this entry …

March 10, 2017

In which we talk about Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns

For the most part, I’m not going to bring up things regarding translations or the different companies or anything. I will just say that I’m sad that when we finally got region-locked multiplayer and a bigger character limit, that it seems that has gone away and we’re back to being limited to just 6 again and same region multiplayer and it eems unlikely that will ever end up changing. Also that we could only start with the default hairstyle and can’t even remove our hat until the first house upgrade a month in.

Going into the game itself, I will say its a huge improvement over the first Story of Seasons/the last Harvest Moon/Bokujō Monogatari which… honestly, isn’t saying much. It’s very rare I end up just not wanting to play something anymore and I don’t think I even made it through the first year, or even to going out with anyone.

Unfortunately, while the game does not have as much of a hoard everything need, it still has a fairly slow start and does a heavy push towards forced waiting. Personally, I’ve always liked this series as a more relaxing kind of game and I feel like its slowly tried to just… not really be that anymore. In Harvest Moon 64, my save file, which I still played for years and years, has 20+ years on it. The gameplay doesn’t change. There’s no new thing, but I just enjoy it and talking to everyone.

When Animals started having lifespans again in all the main series, it caused me to not really play as much anymore and also feel rushed. I didn’t want new animals to replace them and so I would only play for about 3-4 years to make sure I didn’t lose any of them. With that kind of forced time limit I have set for myself, it makes a lot of the forced waiting even more frustrating than normal and it can be really disappointing.

I had been hoping to write this after I had gotten the house I wanted and married in the game, but well, here’s those force waitings I’m stuck with. One of the requirements to even see the last heart event had me to actually know every single Villager and while I mostly knew a lot of people, I wasn’t sure if I actually knew everyone. On top of that, to get to S rank I needed to have 5 hearts with every single villager. While I do try to befriend some villagers, it is rare I befriend everyone. In general, you don’t try to be best friends with every single person in your town/on your block/in your apartment, you know? It’s a weird thing and yet, it’s something the game expects you to do. And because of this, I also knew I’d probably have to be friends with everyone else in the game as well. So, here I am going around and giving gifts to every single person to get my friendship up.

Ignoring just how tiring this is, the most frustrating part was something I ended up finding out: You can only activate one cutscene a day (Starting cutscenes at least seem to be exempt from this at least–like ones taking you to a Town Link Event or telling you about a contest or etc.). This has made getting the Heart Events quite frustrating. I’ve had to start riding my horse places in hopes I wouldn’t activate anything. I did finally get to see the Pink Heart Event though which means I’m now just hoping for the Reverse Proposal. I wish we could see the AP that we had so I’d know if I’m close or not :/ Though, honestly, I wish it was possible to trigger it without extra things needing to be done. I do find the requirements in this game much more laidback though.

However, I have one issue with the proposals and that’s the different items. The Blue Feather is only for Lulukoko Residents and I just find it… really disheartening to see it not be the same for every town and having to use different items.

Going into other mechanics, one of the things I’ve found really frustrating is having to focus a lot on crops this game. I generally will maybe grow one or two things while focusing on animals, but due to all the various Town Lin Requirements, that just isn’t as feasible. In fact, right now I have to harvest 50 Flowers and 50 Tree Crops for Lulukoko to get them to A Rank. I am in Fall and can’t even harvest any until Summer. I am beyond frustrated about it. And that’s really what I mean by forced waiting. While I enjoy the plots and stories, I don’t really enjoy feeling punished for wanting to go a more Dairy Farm route or not being in the right season at the right time. Or seeing it choosing to count some things I’ve done, but not others. Or feeling like I’ve finished with something and then have to do it all over again.

As mentioned, I really enjoy focusing on animals and, with the latest games, decorating my farm and both have been extremely hard to do with this game due to several reasons:
1. The way the farm layouts work in this game. Everything is graphed out and, to be blunt, it really kills a lot of the creativity. There are many neat items in this game, but it’s near impossible to work with. I could maybe throw something together, but it’d never be anything I’d be particularly proud of which makes it really disappointing.
2. Each Large barn only holds 4. Small barns only hold 1. This is the same for Coops. And it sucks. I like to have one of each animal in each color it’s available in and thus, I have 3 Large Barns and 1 Small Barn along with 1 Large Coop. I have no idea why Bunnies go in barns instead of coops, but it’s very annoying and slow and I hate having my barns all over the place. I want to say these are also the smallest “large” barns thus far and as we get more types of animals, it seems disheartening that they are being made smaller.
3. Lack of time. Between the barns being split and just how slow feeding is in this game (You can stock up to 7 per feeder, but because you need to interact with the storage and pick what you want to pull out and then go to each feeder as well and it’s just… a lot of selecting and I don’t know why it feels so slow in this game), I usually finish with my farm chores by the afternoon. Trying to get into each of the towns as well for shopping and gifts before they close is a nightmare and it’s just… not fun. If there was one thing I wish this series could take from Stardew Valley, it’d be the Autofeeders. Those were a blessing.

I really felt A New Beginning was the height of the handheld games and just a few tweaks (and just getting rid of the town placement system, honestly) would’ve made future games perfect and it just feels like they completely discarded a lot of the customization it brought. Literally the only thing I disliked about the customization system for ANB was the stupid point system which made it so even though I had space, it wouldn’t let me place more things and many of the points to items made zero sense.

I miss being able to customize my interiors entirely myself. I’m glad this game does give the options of different interiors and exteriors, but it still kind of sucks when there isn’t a particularly one I like or I like one room in one and a different room in others.

There’s also lots of pets in this game, but you can only have 4 Pet houses per farm area and as previously mentioned, everything feels so slow that I haven’t really had the heart to try and have the 12 pets I wanted and have just stuck to my one:

I just… guess I wish the game was more simple? I preferred it when it just felt a lot more relaxing and sure there was the whole “make a great farm before *insertthinghere* or solving silly puzzles or whatever, but it just was still more enjoyable to me. I miss when upgrading your house and building things was limited to just stone and lumber. I miss the photo album of Harvest Moon 64. I miss not having to worry about my animals passing away.

There’s still fun things with this game–I think a lot of the festivals are fun, the heart events are great, and even fixing the town up is pretty neat.

But at the same time, it almost feels like too much. Too many people/villages, too many things needed to be done (town rank locks suck and they would be so much better if they were just limited to the villager request jobs versus the ship/harvest stuff… And your dad in this game is a jerkface and his tasks also suck, though, only the third set has been really frustrating to me), and I just wish it was more laidback in a way I guess. It’s just not a fun feeling when you see the end of a tunnel and then find out that you have to go back to the start to get something to continue along your way.

I wish I was still having fun with it. I’m playing to finish, but it’s just not very fun anymore.

Regardless, I’m still taking lots of screenshots and will have at least one or two more videos:

I think I’ll at least get married, but I may stop before I finished all the goals I had hoped to do (getting the house exterior and interior I wanted plus a child),

March 7, 2017

Pokemon GO & Nintendo Switch Adventures (and a few other things)

So, it had been a bit of a crazy weekend between desperately trying to get a party hat Pikachu before they left today and also getting a Nintendo Switch. I had been wanting to talk about this for a while, but just have not gotten the chance. I’ll get to more of that soon, but for now, let’s get to the start of it all. I will admit this does go into a bit more personal stuff so if you’d rather just stick to more game-focused things, I’d either skip to where I start talking about Pokemon GO or wait until my entry sometime later this week about the latest Story of Seasons game :) But yes, moving on…

With the weather being so… odd lately (in fact, it was quite cold today, is supposed to be hot tomorrow, and then snow sometime later this week…), it’s hard for me to really feel up to doing much lately. I’ll start to feel better and then suddenly feel like I’ve been hit with a bag of bricks and it’s the absolute worst and reminds me of some of my worst days when I was younger. That said, with the fact that this has been something that has been effecting both my husband and myself these last few months, we had a feeling we just might not be able to do the Nintendo World launch event for a Switch. Until the weather normalizes a bit or our allergies get used to it, we both would just end up being very sick by having to wait on line for 24+ hours. Thus, we decided to fully depend on Amazon this time around.

Due to the aforementioned issues, things weren’t going as smoothly though. I at least managed to get the Grey Nintendo Switch and the Special Edition of Breath of the Wild (sadly not the Master) right as Amazon put them, but I missed the Neon Switch (which was put up later), the Amiibo, and the Pro Controller which was pretty discouraging.

Regardless, I was glad I at least got the system and felt, even if we couldn’t get to the launch, at least we’d still have the system, right? And as I heard of some Master Editions being cancelled, I felt maybe it was okay that we only managed to get the Special Edition. Until my order didn’t update on Thursday. Or Friday. And thus, like many others, it seems our preordered Nintendo Switch was currently unavailable.

While I generally may have been able to wait, The Legend of Zelda is one of Mark’s favorite game series and he’d been excited for it since it was just announced as the next Legend of Zelda. And thus, I was pretty upset. Especially as I felt it was my fault for not encouraging us to go to the launch more where, even if maybe it wouldn’t have been the best choice for many many reasons, we would have at least got the system. Heck, we probably would’ve gotten everything else we wanted to. While I was able to somehow preorder all the Amiibo from Best Buy a few weeks ago (which thankfully did all come), we did still want the Pro Controller and who knows, maybe by some miracle they even had Master Editions.

Regardless, I was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. That was when I stumbled upon someone mentioning that the Nintendo NY Store still had Nintendo Switches and even some Master Editions along with plenty of many other things. They mentioned it taking about 15-20 minutes, but I was set and with some help (because I was just not doing great, driving wasn’t really an option), I was off.

The car ride took forever due to so much traffic. I did, however, hatch my 10KM Egg in Pokemon GO and get a Chansey which made me feel like maybe, things would work out and I’d get lucky. I also managed to FINALLY get some Party Hat Pikachu–both males and I was unable to get a female, but at least I’ll have one Party Hat Pikachu and Raichu now… Unfortunately, I wasn’t really dressed to be waiting long due to rushing (I wore a dress–I probably should have worn pants) and it was very cold. The line took about 40 minutes, but thanks to some nice people in front of me for talking to me on line, it made it a lot more bearable and helped me get my mind off a lot of it.

And despite all the craziness (and feeling even worse due to how hot it was in store compared to the coldness of outside), I did manage to get everything we wanted–the Neon Nintendo Switch, the Master Edition of Breath of the Wild, and a Pro Controller.

I might have picked up Bomberman too, but it was already sold out. Regardless, I hope we’ll be able to get it soon. One thing I was really surprised about though is I only managed to get 8 StreetPasses… I’m really worried I may not be able to finish the StreetPass games at this point :/ I did complete the main “goal” of Market Crashers though with the most recent group:

And I did at least take some other pictures in the store as well:

We’ve been having fun playing Zelda since (I mean, we do sleep at points but besides that :P) and I’ve even gotten a Pink Horse I named Shortcake (because Strawberry was too long :( ):

I plan to give it the flower mane.

I’m also hoping to find a plain pink horse to give the teal mane and name after the My Little Pony that was made for me:

We unfortunately haven’t seen anymore pink horses though :(

I feel like it’ll be a long time before the game is done due to all the exploring. I don’t see us finishing the main plot until every other thing is done.

Moving onto Pokemon GO again, as I mentioned, I got a Chansey and two Party Hat Pikachu on Friday! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get more to either evolve one or get a pair of females as well now that gender differences are in. I really wish they were around longer and had their percentages upped again. They only had them upped once and that was halfway through the event and it still wasn’t enough for me to see them around my neighborhood at all. If I hadn’t run into Manhattan, I never would have gotten any Party Hat Pikachu :/

There’s a lot I like about Pokemon GO, but it just keeps finding new ways to disappoint me mechanic-wise. That said, right now Sprint and Pokemon GO have a fairly neat Rewards Program that will let you redeem some neat stuff including $10 gift cards for Apple Store and Google Playstore. There apparently will be special events as well and you do not need to have Sprint as your phone provider to participate.

Meanwhile, moving onto Fire Emblem Heroes, they are doing their new voting today. I’m stuck between Lucina and Elise, but something tells me Lucina is going to blow the entire competition away… Speaking of Elise, I FINALLY got her thanks to the new Princess Focus. Now Linde is the last super wanted character on my list. I’d like to get Azura as well, but she’s a much lower priority and I’m still debating on Klein who is in the Sibling focus.

I’m keeping an eye out for Super Mario Run’s Android release. I really hope my IOS progress carries over considering I connected it to my Nintendo ID, but I’m really worried it won’t be… Fingers crossed anyway.

I also am super curious about the Animal Crossing one, but still concerned. Regardless, I’m going to stay positive.

Besides BotW and Mobile stuff, I’ve mostly been playing Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, but that will wait until my next entry~

Finally, here’s some lovely pictures of all the Master Edition stuff:

March 3, 2017

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer – March 2017 Challenge

While things are a bit crazy right now and thus, this is a bit late, of course I made sure to still do this :) And I’ll have an entry and stuff for the latest Story of Seasons game soon as well, but for now, let’s get to it!

Challenge: A Treasure Trove

Rating Address: 0506-5781-299

I’m a bit confused on why the big teddy bear for this… but I did my best.

February 17, 2017

Opinion Piece: On Pokemon GO’s Johto Update

So, it came out yesterday and well, I have a lot I want to say about it :P To start, I’ll admit, my excitement is mixed! I’m happy to see more Pokemon and more people playing again (and less people referring to something as “dead” just because less people are playing), but as someone who always tries to complete a Living Dex of each gen since I first played my Pokemon Blue game, I’m kind of bummed because I essentially failed.

Ignoring that it was impossible to even get some Pokemon (Mew, Mewtwo, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres aren’t even out yet) and for anyone who doesn’t have the money to travel or somehow gets sponsored to do so, they’re out of luck for up to 4 other Pokemon as well. And this trend of regional Pokemon might be continuing with this new generation… and I’ll be honest, it’s kind of dumb. The Pokemon currently have no actual affiliation with most places they are spawning. Gen 5, which took place in New York and New Jersey had nearly all new Pokemon and very little returning old ones, yet here we have tons of Pokemon. We’re just missing three. Central Park is practically its own Safari Zone.

There’s just… no reason for it and without trading in the game still, there’s even less reason for it. It’s randomly chosen and a bit discouraging right out the door.

For now, I’ll still be doing my best to catch what I can, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I still haven’t finished my Gen 1 Pokedex, let alone my Gen 2 one, before Gen 3 comes out. It’s not like I wouldn’t still be playing even if I did though. I’d be working on medals, gathering more candy for later evolutions (especially as I wouldn’t be surprised if a Mega Evolution costs candy), and just working hard on getting as much done as I can so just having the Pokedex kind of cut off in a way is pretty discouraging.

Heck, I never even managed to hatch a Baby Pokemon. Regardless, all the new Pokemon is making me really want to go out more again, which isn’t entirely possible with how the weather is right now. Maybe once it warms up…

Besides new Pokemon, new UI additions and items were added as well, such as some Evolution Items. I do find it a bit odd that they’ve added a Sun Stone, but never bothered with a Fire/Thunder/Water/Moon Stone. I mean, I’d rather items than more random evolutions at least though… I have yet to find any items from Pokestops, however :( Hopefully they show up more soon and aren’t actually super rare or something.

Meanwhile, Eevee is still random. Thankfully, they did include a name trick again to guarantee Espeon and Umbreon–Sakura for Espeon and Tamao for Umbreon which were names of two of the trainers/Kimono Girls in one of the Anime episodes. I’m not entirely sure what Glaceon and Leafeon could be called once Gen 4 is in… Every episode where they appear together, both Pokemon have the same trainer or no trainer at all.

I haven’t been able to do too many evolutions just yet. Most of the ones where I’ve saved up enough Candy, I need a specific item to actually fully evolve them. I at least evolved a Zubat up into a Crobat which was nice.

Finally, and one of things I was most excited about with the news, new clothing!:

I’m happy about skirts and my lovely backpack! :D And that’s it.

I wish… more things matched the backpack. The only thing that currently is in the store that matches is a big knit hat that would only be appropriate for like… another month at most and I prefer not wearing a hat. I also wish there were some actual necklaces because currently, all the options are chokers.

I hope we eventually get more matching items, some new shoes, possibly some dresses, and I’d also really like to see some tights/stockings besides just leggings and thigh-highs. I just hope we see clothing updates much sooner rather than just every new generation.

That said, I’m a bit apprehensive on the prices. Items cost anywhere from 80-500 Coins. If you only can get one gym a day, that’s 80 days of getting that gym to get just the simplest items and at least 8 days minimum no matter what. It’s incredibly limited to needing to pay for coins unless you can easily get A LOT of gyms and often do so. While I already mentioned it in my last entry, Pokemon GO desperately needs another way to earn Poke Coins.

I was also saddened that rather than any free storage upgrade just for the new generation, they only made it so the boxes are discounted for a limited time… If I had the money, I’d have to look into trying to buy them all before the discount is gone because I know I’ll need the space eventually and I’m not even sure it’ll be enough space.

Right now, there are a total of 802 Pokemon. 99 of them have Gender Differences. Ignoring special forms (which could still appear for events–we did just get a Santa Pikachu, afterall, and battle forms with the exception of Megas), there are 27 other forms of Unown, 3 other forms of Castform, 3 other forms of Deoxys, 2 other forms of both Burmy and Wormadam, an addition form of Cherrim, Shellos, Gastrodon, Basculin, Darmanitan, Giratina, Shaymin, Tornadus, Thundurus, Landurus, Keldeo, Meloetta, Aegislash, Xerneas, Hoopa, and Lycanroc, 5 additional Rotom forms, 17 Arceus forms, 3 additional forms of Deerling and Sawsbuck, 2 additional forms of Kyurem, 4 additional forms of Genesect, 19 additional Vivillon forms, 4 additional forms of Flabebe, Floette, and Florges, 9 additional looks for Furfrou, 3 additional sizes each for Pumpkaboo and Gourgeist, 4 additional Zygarde forms, 3 additional Oricorio forms, 17 additional Silvally forms, 8 Minior forms, 18 Alolan forms, and 48 Megas. That brings us up to 1,132. We’re already 132 over. And if Shinies are in the game, just one of each Shiny and normal, forms ignored, gives us a grand total of 1,604.

Currently, max storage is 1,000. You start with 250 Storage (which isn’t even enough for one of each Pokemon in Gen 1 and 2, ignoring that they aren’t all up yet). It costs 200 Coins per 50 storage expansion. To max out at 1,000 slots, you would need to purchase this 15 times. That is 3,000 Coins normally or 1,500 Coins with the current discount. I’ve already gone into the whole gym issue so you’re more likely going to be spending at least $10 if you want to get everything. And if you want everything, you’re one of those people who catch tons of Pokemon for quick level-ups and/or are trying for the best possible amount of CP… You’ll need the space.

And just… we need more storage and we need more ways to earn coins more than anything. We need to be able to buy things besides just getting them at Pokestops. There’s so much this game could do better that would make people play longer even as Gens are spaced out and maybe it’s just me, but I prefer them being spaced out by a large margin.

Regardless, I’m still playing and having fun. I just hope they work on these things soon.

February 12, 2017

Opinion Piece: On Nintendo’s Mobile games + Animal Crossing’s

So, before I get into this, I want to say this is more on my opinions as per usual and not based on general commentary or sales or anything like that. I will also be including the Pokemon mobile games in this, even though they were made by other companies. The only ones I will not bring up are Pokemon Shuffle and various other Pokemon picture/music apps, the former as it is just a port of the 3DS game and the latter as they aren’t really games.

First up is Pokemon GO. It’s been out for nearly 8 months now and while the popularity has died down and you see less people playing it, it’s actually still pretty popular and I still play it everyday. I would say my biggest issue at this point is the fact that even now, months after release, the only way to earn coins is from owning a Gym.

Unless you’re fortunate to be able to get a Pokestop by your house/job/school or head out a lot and there aren’t too many far away, you’re going to run into issues with items. And even if you may be fortunate to be in that situation, there is still the issue of space and space can only be gotten from purchasing with coins. Extra incubators to help free up egg space quicker, extra space for Pokemon (as you will be catching a lot to get enough candy to evolve them and even more if you care a lot about having the highest CP possible for each with the best attacks…), extra space for items… It just constantly adds up and when you can only get, at most, 10 coins a day and only if you manage to be in 10 different gyms… It’s a bit of a mess.

From where I live, we have one gym several blocks away and in that radius, two Pokestops. I don’t often get to go to any of these and even if I got to that gym, even now, there is a constant battle over it. It changes multiple times a day and I likely wouldn’t hold it very long at all, so I’d get 1 coin a day, at most.

I don’t think a Defender Bonus is bad though. Even if I prefer not to bother with gyms or battling (I’ll probably do so eventually to earn the badges/medals), I think a defender bonus IS a good way for money, but I also think it should be increased while catching Pokemon and using Pokestops should give some coins as well. Limiting coins to only that Defender Bonus is just ridiculous. Sure, you can technically play the game without any space increasing, but unless they give us some free box upgrades once Gen 2 and future gens are fully in the game, that won’t always be the case.

The other issue is partially due to the new Nearby system. I really liked the original footprint system and while it was a bit unclear, it was fun to explore the neighborhood and find new Pokemon. The new system lessens exploring a bit for one (afterall, it tells you right where it is, and sure, maybe it’s a slightly new place, but you’re not going to just stumble upon new areas), but is highly skewed towards people near Pokestops. Because it says nearby based on a Pokestop it’s at, if you don’t have any Pokestops near them, you’re much less likely to find any Pokemon at all. There’s also no real way to try tracking Pokemon anymore. It almost feels like a backtrack to what I feel the app originally did.

Near my house, we have 2 Pokestops and a Gym within a radius of 1-2 miles. It’s better than some people, but it’s not something I easily get to go to. We will sometimes get a Pokemon right by our house, but it’s random and pretty rare. And despite that rarity, it’s Pidgey or Rattata 90% of the time. Meanwhile, if we’re going out and driving on a highway or something where there are no Pokestops, we find pretty much nothing now. Early on when the game first came out, we’d often find some new Pokemon everytime. Now it’s just miles of emptiness and it’s pretty discouraging. I can only imagine how it is for people who do live where there are no Pokestops at all. I mean, the Valentine’s Day Event is going on right now and is supposed to increase the chances of pink Pokemon. So far, I’ve seen two and that’s it. This is a huge contrast to the Halloween event where it actually helped me catch new Pokemon and/or get enough to evolve.

Despite these issues though, I’m still playing Pokemon GO everyday and still looking forward to updates. Heck, the Valentine’s Day event just started and I’m really hoping to get a few specific Pokemon. I just hope they’ll eventually improve some of these issues to make it a friendlier experience for everyone.

Next up is Super Mario Run. The game is currently only out for iOS devices which is…super disappointing. I’ve had to borrow a family member’s iOS device, but it’s really frustrating and something I hope they avoid in the future, especially as they’ve already finished with one special event and have another going on right now. Super Mario Run is a fairly simple game–it’s an auto runner, you tap to jump, that’s really it. Depending which character you play, they have different abilities. Peach floats, Toad moves faster, Luigi jumps higher, Yoshi can flutter jump, etc.

The game also costs $10 to play beyond World 1, which while other people have issues, I’m 100% fine with. Stamina systems suck and I’m so glad I can just play the levels whenever I feel like it. That said, certain modes almost make me want certain freemium things because they’re incredibly frustrating which brings me to the bane of my enjoyment for this game: Toad Rally.

Toad Rally puts you head to head with another player’s time, the goal is to get more coins than them. The problem here is:
1. The only way to earn Toads is through Toad Rally.
2. Stars are incredibly overpowered. Just like in The Wizard, if you get the star, you essentially win. They pull coins towards you and so most of the time, they will be an auto-win for the other player if you don’t manage to get one too. Similarly, if you’re doing terrible and get a star, it can be an entire game changer and secure you a win.
3. You lose Toads if you lose.

3 is the biggest issue, honestly. I can deal with everything else if I didn’t end up losing my Toads each time I tried and lost. Toads are pretty important in the game as you can’t build most things without getting a certain amount of Toads, including Character Huts to unlock the ability to play certain characters. The customization is all tied to Toads and so while I’m sitting here on a mountain of coins, I can’t actually get anything I want because my Toad count just isn’t good enough. And even with a recent update of lowering it, I’m still losing 10%-20% of my Toads if I do lose. It’s just not fun. I wish I could do something to prevent myself from losing Toads, heck, I wish I could buy Toads because it’s just not a mode I enjoy at all and considering how much I love customization, it’s hard for me to feel encouraged to play.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of playing against people. I don’t mind teamwork, but being put up against other players is not a fun experience for me. Toad Rally not only forces me into that, but also constantly destroys any progress I make due to just not being good enough to keep my Toad count up.

One other issue is that any character besides Mario and Luigi will die if they hit anything. There is no Mushroom to help them get bigger. They have one chance and if you fail, they go into that bubble. Speaking of that bubble, it is a pain to pop and sometimes I’ve managed to just kill myself over and over because touch screens are annoying. Regardless, we’ve already seen Chibi Peach in Super Mario 3D World so I don’t know why they made it this way. I feel like the other characters should work the same way.

That said, Super Mario Run’s main issue, besides Toad Rally’s existence, is that it’s just very grind-y. You need to grind up all these Toads for events and items in the game and losing them just makes it even more frustrating. The most recent event requires you to stomp on 100 Golden Goombas which will spawn at least one randomly in a specific level. Where it spawns varies, but if you don’t actually kill it, it doesn’t count. And while it seems simple enough, it’s actually very tedious as you need to play through the entire level and sometimes you may not even see it or manage to kill it.

The other thing Super Mario Run has for you to do is coin collecting. You can collect 5 Pink Coins per level which will then allow you to get 5 Purple Coins and then finally 5 Black Coins. These unlock special medals for you along with a special world that relates to each once you’ve gotten all the color coins in each level. My main issue here is that you always need to get all 5 in one go for it to count. There’s almost always one that is just infuriating for me and then once I get it, I somehow screw up the rest. I wish it remembered which I had gotten already so I wasn’t doing the same thing over and over.

Super Mario Run is probably the mobile game I’ve had the least fun with and its solely due to a lot of quality of life stuff (constantly needing to re-get every coin, losing Toads, one-hit deaths with 4/6 characters). Considering they did lessen how many Toads you lose, I’m just really hoping they’ll add more ways to earn Toads in general that won’t actually risk any.

After that, we have Pokemon Duel which was a huge surprise to say the least. The game released as Pokemon Comaster in April 2016 in Japan. There had been no information or notice of the game coming overseas and it essentially came out of nowhere. The game is essentially a digital version of the old Pokemon Trading Figure Game on a new board game system. It’s simple enough, get to the end goal on the other side and you win. I’m not a huge fan of strategy games and generally just prefer collecting, but I actually ended up having a lot of fun with this game. I always felt the stamina let me play tons and usually if I hit a point where I was out of stamina, I felt satisfied and ready for a break anyway.

I recently finished the story thus far, though, it is not complete just yet. The only real complaints I have are:
1. That play leads you to multiplayer. The fact that story mode is in a side thing called “Quests” is really odd.
2. Lack of customization. I was so excited to see the customization when I first started it, but it’s honestly kind of lacking. I was really hoping we’d eventually get more hair or even a different outfit/unique suit, but no luck. I also feel like the game generally seems to refer to you as a male (even if no specific pronouns are set, it comes off that way to me) and that’s also a bit frustrating. The only real customization is with all the masks, honestly.

3. Very small space. While they are pretty generous with gems and I feel like I’ve earned a lot as I played, I do feel that 50 is a very small limit with so many figures and Pokemon.

I’m not too fond of the timelock systems either, but as the only way to really earn them is in the Play/Multiplayer Versus, I don’t really earn them much anyway.

Regardless, it is one of the few games I’ve played where the Stamina just doesn’t bother me at all, if not the only game. I also feel the game is super generous with gems and I’ve gotten a lot of figures thanks to that. I’m definitely looking forward to the next part of the story.

Finally, we’ve come to the most recent game–Fire Emblem: Heroes. I’m not the biggest Fire Emblem fan. I really enjoyed Awakening, but hated Fates, and other than knowing the characters in Smash Brothers, that is the extent of my Fire Emblem knowledge. Regardless, when the Battle Ballot started, I actually looked up all the characters to figure out who I would vote for and ended up stumbling upon many new characters I found interesting:

I was sad to see that Sumia, one of my favorite overall characters, is not in just yet, but many others I really liked are at least. And despite that and despite even my lack of caring much for strategy games, I’ve found Fire Emblem Heroes really fun. I do wish the gacha was a bit better (I originally thought you’d be able to get characters similar to in the game where you could talk to them in some of the maps) or you could even trade in multiple characters for ones you want, but I’m still generally really enjoying it.

The current summons end the 15th and I have four characters I still really want: Elise, Linde, Azura, and Catria. Elise and Linde are my top priorities, but it seems unlikely I’ll manage to get them. So far, the best pull I’ve gotten is when I finally got Sakura:

I’ve not gotten that lucky again (best since has been 3 5-Stars), but I’ve gotten many 5 Stars of either the same characters of characters I don’t even want. I’ve gotten Lyn 5 times now and most recently, another Robin (for 3 times now) and Hinoka. There are people who have spent thousands on the game and not gotten everyone and that’s kind of scary to think about. I don’t even want all the characters and have gotten so many I don’t want, but the chances of getting the last few I do are so low and it’s super sad to think about.

My current team is Sakura, Tiki/Takumi (switching between), Robin, and Lyn. I may switch Lyn out for Lucina if I level Lucina enough and Robin will be switched out for Linde if I can ever get her.

I would say my biggest issues with Fire Emblem Heroes, besides Gacha issues (though honestly, the orb prices are pretty good), come down to the following:
1. No custom unit. Considering the story and having played Awakening and Fates, I was really expecting character customization. Even if I didn’t get some big fancy art and just had my sprite, I was still expecting to be able to fight alongside these characters. The sprites really reminded me of Scribblenauts so I just kept expecting to be able to make this cute mashed up character. Even if the game didn’t let me, I had fun trying to do so myself:

Even if they didn’t fight, it’d be more fun to see to identify your friends and who is visiting versus the same several units that multiple friends may like.
2. Stamina doesn’t upgrade. Your cost to play each level goes up immensely as you play and/or change the difficulty, but you still only have 50 stamina. I can get two story attempts in at a time at this point before I’m stuck waiting for it to charge again. It just goes too slowly and I feel like I get through maps quickly and then am sitting there with nothing to do.
3. Feathers to get from 4 star to 5 star is just… way too much. 20,000 is a lot. 5,000-10,000 I feel would be much more reasonable. You can get 10-15 feathers a day normally, more from sending heroes home (which considering you can get SP and stuff by combining them or even up to 10 additional levels if the same rank, you may want to keep them more often than not), occasionally from quests, and/or from the Arena based on your rank. Similar to Super Mario Run’s Toad Rally, it puts you up against another player’s team and it’s better to play on harder difficulties to get more points in order to get a higher score for more feathers. It’s not personally a mode I enjoy for many reasons and I generally don’t find the match-making very balanced at all. It’s just not a fun mode to me.
4. This is a relatively small thing compared to the rest, but I wish there was an Undo button. So many times the touchscreen has read my placement wrong and I went to the wrong spot or I put myself in the correct spot and accidentally finish that character’s movement without attacking when I went to. These often can be game-costing mistakes and it just sucks that there’s not really anything you can do if it happens to you.
5. Healers need better heals. Their heals should go up as they level. The fact that the best wand only does 8 to multiple people is awful, especially as all your character’s HP goes up. Sure, the special ability can help, but it’s just not enough and this is why many people aren’t playing healers. It feels pointless when you heal so little.

In general, I am still enjoying the game as I continue my struggles, but there is definitely a lot I hope to see improved in the future.

Now that I’m finished talking about all of the current mobile games, I want to talk about the last one we know is coming soon–Animal Crossing. At the moment, we have no idea what to expect for this game. It was announced along with Fire Emblem ages ago and that’s it and while I could easily envision mobile games for everything else on this list, I am having so much trouble thinking of anything that will work with Animal Crossing and not completely suck. Animal Crossing is an interesting game because it technically does have a waiting system due to it being a real time game, but it still always has stuff for you to do. Even if I’m waiting to meet with a villager or for new favors to be available or for Nook to finish my house expansion, I can still fish, catch bugs, make designs, water flowers, and continue to enjoy my village and I’ve having such a hard time of thinking of any kind of game where all of these things will fit in. Everything I can think of either makes the game too slow/grind-y or only focuses on one small aspect. We know the game will connect to future Animal Crossing games and/or New Leaf, but how will it work in the first place?

So, I wanted to bring up some of the types that came to mind that I hope it won’t be:
1. Action-based story games. These tend to sound interesting with quests, a good customization, and usually even a room you can customize, but the problem is the quests are tedious and huge energy hogs. They usually involve you randomly clicking certain parts of the screen with each click using up energy. The catch is that you’re also timed. If you get too low of a score (usually out of 5), you’ll “fail” or do incredibly poorly on your task, so if you decide to step away while energy refills, you need to hope you don’t forget to check back in. These timers can vary anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours. It’s repetitive and people end up often pressured to spend money for energy due to worrying about not checking back in time. It’s also lazy as it’s literally the same thing over and over with just some different lines of text for what you’re clicking on.
2. Kingdom Builders. If you think of early Facebook games, this is what I’m referring to. You set up buildings and wait for them to finish, you click things to try and find materials in order to make more stuff, you try and build up a town and make it self sustaining. It’s RNG-based for getting certain items and requires a lot of waiting with little, if anything, to do in the meantime.
3. Restaurant games. You take orders and do them. Similar to doing the Coffee service at Brewster’s Cafe in New Leaf.
4. Minigames – Whether it be fully dedicated to fishing (use certain baits to catch the fish), bug catching, the museum, designing, gardening, or coffee brewing, it feels like a disservice to Animal Crossing to only center on one thing.
5. Games that have nothing to do with what’s going on, but somehow cause the town/garden/whatever you’re in to upgrade and get better anyway. Usually games like Tetris, Bejeweled, or various other matching games. Slow and repetitive.
6. Happy Home Designer in a game – Nintendo already said they would always try to make new experiences rather than a port, so I’d feel it’d be more likely to be more exterior-based than interior based or a combo of both with that touch screen thing, but I just worry it’ll be too much like a Kingdom Builder game.

Regardless, I’m keeping my fingers crossed they will do amazing things with an Animal Crossing mobile game as it’s something I really want to love.

February 7, 2017

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer – Finally, More houses!

It’s been a long time, but I decided to try and stream some Happy Home Designer today :)

Broffina – A Bus Station

Rating Address: 0097-5775-704

Ken – A Ninja Hideout

Rating Address: 0796-5775-794

Cousteau – A restaurant for exotic food.

Rating Address: 0108-5775-244

Cube – An eco-friendly Factory

Rating Address: 0608-5775-284

Lyman – A veggie palace.

Rating Address: 0603-5775-754

Chevre – A high-security bank vault.

Rating Address: 0903-5775-264

Del – A Shrine to Seafaring.

Rating Address: 0600-5775-294

It was really fun to stream it again <3 I hope everyone enjoyed watching too.

February 4, 2017

Just some Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World stuff~

Despite having played the Wii U game, I was pretty excited for this version as well. That is because my favorite thing to do in the Wii U version was ride Poochy. And the 3DS version, not only still lets you have Poochy, but lets you play Poochy in his very own stages, but there are also Poochy Pups!! LOOK AT THEM WITH MY YOSHI (And yes, the photo to the left is also them with my Yoshi):

I love them so much… I don’t think they have official names so from here on out, we’re naming them Bluey, Pinky, and Blacky.

I love them so much though:

Even their flying animation is adorable:

And yes, you may have noticed I said My Yoshi–that is because in this game, you can actually create your own! This is an amazing feature and I don’t know why it wasn’t in there to begin with. Look at my adorable Yoshi:

If I knew how to crochet, I would try to crochet it like the ones in the shorts to go with my lovely Poochy Amiibo:

And in giant view:

(I wish it was this big when designing–it’d help so much more with the little details…)

And while not with my Yoshi yet, it is with my favorite Yoshi otherwise, the pink one:

From the adorable opening sequence <3 I don't know if I will write again when I'm finished, but for now you can always find my playthrough over on Youtube :)

February 1, 2017

Happy Home Designer: February 2017’s Challenge!

So, it’s a new month and thus, time to see what our newest challenge with a unclear theme that forces giant items to be used is :P

Theme: A roundabout around – It shows the Teacups so maybe I’ll try and make it carnival themed?? Or lots of round stuff?? I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ANYMORE

Rating Address: 0904-5794-258

I’m happy to say I at least am proud of what I managed to get done for this one.

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