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Eliwood8

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Eliwood8 last won the day on March 20

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About Eliwood8

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    SW-2605-6540-4133
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  1. Boy they aren't kidding when they said the Bravely Default II demo would be challenging—I almost got wiped by normal enemy mobs once or twice, and I did die against the boss. Came back at him with a few more levels and a specific battle plan in place though and it went smoothly. Overall it still feels like the Bravely Default I know and love, though some little gameplay adjustments are a little odd. Character turns come whenever their speed dictates instead of choosing everyone's action at the beginning of each turn, which actually makes planning a lot harder, especially budgeting braves and defaults. And I actually don't like that monsters are now visible in the overworld instead of being purely random encounters. BD's random encounter slider was already the perfect solution, now it's much harder to avoid battles, especially since monsters seem to respawn quite quickly.
  2. I finally tried out the remake demo. It's kind of an adjustment going from 2D to 3D, since now you can easily lose track of monsters behind you, but overall combat feels pretty good. I was going to use the three characters I didn't use when I played Trials of Mana in the collection last year, but I just can't handle Charlotte's voice so instead I went Reisz, Hawkeye, and Kevin. Some of the other voice acting is actually pretty mixed quality too though—Reisz has some really flat delivery on some lines. I do like that you can choose to play through other characters' intros when they join your party, that's a neat addition.
  3. All of the Japan-only Fire Emblem games, ideally released in one big collection but I'd take them as piecemeal remakes like Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia too.
  4. - Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl - Gold (Switch) One thing I like about Snack World is the weapon system, and actually that's kind of all I liked about the game. Otherwise it feels tediously grindy and unrewarding. - Pikuniku (Switch) Had no idea what to expect of this game but it was on sale for $1 so why not. Truly bizarre but also quite charming adventure/platformer. - Super Crush KO (Switch) An excellent combo-driven action game in a stylish pastel package. I also highly recommend the developer's previous game, Graceful Explosion Machine. Just wish these games were longer, but there's a lot of replay value. - Timespinner (Switch) Even though I ultimately wanted more out of the time mechanics, the overall Metroidvania adventure was a lot of fun. Really great pixel art too, feels right out of the SNES–PSX era. - Outer Wilds (PS4) Decided to try the game based on its critical acclaim, and I can see why it turned heads: the whole game is a simple but engaging approach to exploration and puzzle solving. I'll say though that the stuff that really relied heavily on timing was annoying, first to figure out then to execute. Console: 30 Overall: 30
  5. Finished the season, thought it was great. I quite liked the slow burn nature of the season's pacing, really built up the anticipation since you know something crazy is going to happen before the end of the season but you're never quite sure what.
  6. It's a story we've seen a thousand times: you're chilling at home scrolling through your social media feed when some alien lady bursts through your wall and kidnaps your cat, which leaves you no other option but to fight your way through her robot army to rescue your precious pet. That old tale. Insane premise aside, Super Crush KO leverages all of the experience that developer Vertex Pop gathered from Graceful Explosion Machine to create another delightfully engaging score-chasing action game. There's not a lot of storytelling happening in Super Crush KO—my summary up above pretty much covers everything—but there's still a lot of style and flair packed into the game's brief cutscenes as our protagonist, Karen, pursues her cat, Chubbz, and the space-traveling cat-napper. The end of each level also treats you to a short bit of text that highlights what the characters are thinking, including Chubbz (spoiler alert: it's meowing). The game happily leans into its absurd premise to be utterly charming, cute, and, in the end, rather heartfelt. Super Crush KO is a stage-based side-scrolling action game: each level features a handful of combat scenes where you fight off waves of robots, and these scenes are connected by light platforming sequences and more robot butt-kickin'. The basic goal is to reach the end of the level, but the real heart of the game revolves around racking up a high score by stringing together combos and all of Karen's abilities. In addition to basic punches and a fancy space gun picked up from the alien cat-napper, Karen gradually unlocks a handful of special attacks that deal extra damage and smoothly combo into one another. After Graceful Explosion Machine, the developers seem to have this formula down pat, and the fluidity of Super Crush KO is an absolute blast. Rather than inundating players with dozens of special attacks, the game keeps things simple with just a few, but the effect is still the same: you'll feel like a one-woman robot-wrecking crew when you effortlessly flow from punching one robot, dodging another before uppercutting it, kicking the robot while in mid-air, then shooting a distant robot before it can fire at you. The combat system is immensely satisfying thanks to this snappy combo system that isn't too demanding but still rewards quick reflexes and careful monitoring of the stage as robots spawn in around you. Most importantly, Super Crush KO is about earning a high score, which means stringing together your attacks without taking damage yourself. This is, as you might expect, much more challenging, but it's also what makes the game so wonderfully addictive. The flow of combat is smooth and fairly easy to grasp, so perfecting it can become an obsession as you try your best to maintain a high combo streak from one fight to the next. You're able to share your high scores on an online leaderboard to see how you stack up to other players, which only further incentivizes you to perfect your skills. It's a good thing the game has this incentive too since just running through the game once is a very short experience. There are only twenty levels in the game (four of which are boss fights) and levels are rarely longer than a few minutes. The stage length itself actually feels great—long enough to be challenging to maintain a high score, but not tediously long—it's just a shame that there aren't more levels. The game's formula absolutely does not get old and I easily could have played through another two dozen levels, especially since the game continuously challenges you with new robot enemies with more dangerous attacks and bigger health bars. Bright and colorful with bold shapes but ultimately few details, the look and sound of Super Crush KO is an excellent match for the fast-paced arcade-style gameplay. You don't want any uncertainty about what type of robot you're fighting or whether an incoming attack can be interrupted or needs to be dodged, and the game's clean, bubbly, and relatively minimalist style ensures that you're never confused about what is happening on screen. It's also a really gorgeous color palette, one that gives the game a unique pastel vibe, which is oddly calming despite the action-packed nature of the gameplay. The music is excellent as well; its mellow, groovy style is almost at odds with the gameplay as well, but ultimately the synth sound, punctuated by Karen's punches and kicks, creates a great background for a robot beatdown. Super Crush KO does one thing and does it exceedingly well. The simple goal of score-chasing can be wonderfully engaging, and developer Vertex Pop has once again captured that simple joy, this time in a beautiful pastel package that encourages combos with fast, fluid gameplay. It's a shame the experience isn't longer, but when you take the time to perfect your skills and your score in every level, Super Crush KO is a delightful addition to the Switch library. Rating: 8 out of 10 Cats
  7. Alright finished watching the Direct, and undoubtedly the highlight for me is Bravely Default II getting a demo (I'll have to try that soon) and confirming that it'll be releasing sometime this year (fingers crossed that doesn't change). Otherwise, hm, not a lot I'm personally interested in. The 2K ports are great additions to the Switch but I already have all of those games on my PS4 so probably won't be double dipping on them. I do want to try Panzer Dragoon at some point though, I've never played that one. Min Min seems like a popular pick on Twitter. Spring Man or Ribbon Girl definitely seem like the most likely choices though. Then again, maybe they'll do something more unique to make the fighter stand out further—Master Mummy would be an interesting choice as, presumably, a heavy character but with a lot of range.
  8. Well this came out of nowhere didn't it? I'm actually still watching it right now! Press release:
  9. Who says work has to be the same ol' same ol' boring stuff every day? It helps to put a little pep and verve into the process, and for Felix the Reaper that means dancing and shimmying his way through the mortal realm, sowing death one person at a time. Part black comedy, part puzzle game, and part love story, Felix the Reaper is a curious collection of seemingly incongruous elements. If every piece of the puzzle fit perfectly it might have been a sleeper hit for the Switch, but the final product actually leaves much to be desired. Felix is a hard-working reaper with the Ministry of Death who is completely smitten by Betty the Maiden from the Ministry of Life. In the hopes of meeting her while on the job, Felix takes on field work to manipulate the mortal world and reap souls, all the while pining for his lady love. The game is unabashedly silly, and putting the grim reaper into a star-crossed lovers story is as odd and entertaining as you might expect. Felix the Reaper also doesn't shy away from dark humor—oftentimes your goal in each level is to manipulate events into an absurd Rube Goldberg machine of death. What's particularly impressive about the writing though is the amount of research that went into exploring the figure of Death in Western culture and art. On the main menu you can read some lengthy articles on the subject, and although it would have been better to frame this research into something a bit more easily digestible (especially for a video game), they're still interesting reads and a neat inclusion. Each puzzle involves navigating a grid-based map while keeping to the shadows (reapers, it seems, can't handle daylight). By moving barrels, crates, and other objects around, you're able to create a path for Felix to move about the map and place the correct object on the indicated square. You may need to move a deer into the path of a hunter's spear for example, or move a barrel of ale close to the same hunter to ensure he isn't too careful about what happens next. You're also able to adjust the position of the sun, so you need to consider where the shadows currently are and will be when the sun is moved in order to create paths. It's an engaging puzzle system that requires a lot of forethought as you plan out each move, and seeing a plan fall into place can be awfully satisfying. That said, not all of the puzzles in Felix the Reaper feel particularly inspired. The core gameplay formula doesn't change much over the short length of the game, which is a little disappointing. The difficulty of each puzzle can vary pretty significantly too. Sometimes there are so few options at your disposal that it's not difficult at all to figure out what to do, and other times there are so many possibilities (but only one correct path) that you can feel totally lost. Thankfully there's a built-in hint system in the game so if you do need a nudge in the right direction you can easily see what steps to take next. One feature that does feel like it's missing though is a quick "rewind" button to undo your most recent actions—at the very least it would save a lot of time when you realize your current plan is leading nowhere. In fact, the controls in general could use a bit of an overhaul. Clearly the game's controls are built for a PC's mouse and keyboard because instead of moving Felix directly you just aim a cursor and click on which square to send him. With a controller this can feel a bit clumsy, and it's only made more difficult by the somewhat slippery camera rotation system that doesn't quite let you pan the camera over the entire stage but instead just rotate around it. When you first start up the game you'll likely be quite thrown by these controls, and it takes several levels to get used to them. Even by the end of the game I'd occasionally find myself annoyed by the tiny white dot of a cursor or the rotation that doesn't quite let me see the angle I want. The awkward controls are only emphasized by the game's focus on speed. You can take however long you need to finish a puzzle, but to earn all three bonus skulls you'll need to finish as quickly as possible with as few actions as possible. It's nice to have something to stretch out the game's length a bit, but really all you're doing is memorizing the correct actions after one or two trial runs and then executing them as quickly as possible—not the most interesting use of your time in a puzzle game. There are also harder versions of each level which can add a lot of play time to Felix the Reaper since these levels can be incredibly tricky (and you don't even get any hints). They can be so difficult, in fact, that they'll probably only appeal to the most dedicated players, but the challenge is there if you want it. And on a more technical note, the game has a real problem with load times. Sure loading screens are simply a reality of modern gaming but they're a bit of a drag here, especially if you finish a puzzle in just a minute or two and then sit through twenty seconds of loading. If there's one thing you can say about Felix the Reaper, it's that it has character. Felix himself is an oddly lovable representation of death, trading a dark cloak and scythe for a tie and a pair of headphones, all on a rather adorably pudgy body. A body that, surprisingly, is capable of stylish dance moves as Felix flits from shadow to shadow. The humans you're reaping are similarly unusual and yet charming—their simple, somewhat grotesque faces can be surprisingly emotive. The soundtrack though, is a bit of a mixed bag. Considering dancing is a major aspect of Felix's character, it's surprising that a lot of the music leans toward light, atmospheric sounds rather than, say, a dance club vibe. It might be suited to solving puzzles but it doesn't seem to fit with Felix himself. However, the soundtrack is actually composed by several musicians and you're able to change songs at any time, so once you find one you like you can stick with it the whole game. Felix the Reaper promises a great deal with its quirky sense of style and humor, but ultimately the pieces don't quite come together for this macabre rom com. The puzzles are clever and certainly challenging at times, but they never quite manage to evolve into more complex or engaging formats. The controls leave a lot to be desired, which can easily wear on your patience during more difficult puzzles, and even the charm of the presentation and dark humor of the writing fail to liven up the atmosphere. In the end it's hard to love Felix's quest for romance. Rating: 6 out of 10 Deaths
  10. This isn't helpful at this point since you already got through it, but for anyone else: the Switch's screenshot function is real handy to remind you what order to go through the doors, and then just open the map frequently to keep your bearings.
  11. At this point it feels like it'd be faster to count the number of Wii U games that haven't been ported to the Switch, though to be fair, few deserve a second chance in the spotlight as much as Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE. This Encore performance adds a few new features—as well as including the DLC released for the original game—but just giving Switch owners a chance to experience the engaging RPG mechanics of the game is treat enough. TMS♯FE takes place in modern day Tokyo and the story revolves around the idol industry of teenagers becoming pop star singers and actors. However, the city is also beset by phantom creatures called Mirages who are attacking people to steal their performance energy. Our heroes, a scrappy group of mostly novice idols, teams up with friendly Mirages to fight back. It's probably not surprising that TMS♯FE leans heavily on anime tropes and such—each character almost feels like a walking cliché, which can make the game's story beats a little tedious. The main protagonist, Itsuki, is particularly disappointing since he's really just a blank slate character to facilitate other characters' development. Still, the characters can be charming at times as well, and if you just let yourself go along for the ride on a light-hearted, campy, save-the-world story, the writing's lack of substance won't matter much. Besides, TMS♯FE makes up for any storytelling faults with a wonderfully engaging battle system and inventive dungeon designs. Scattered throughout Tokyo you'll enter Idolaspheres (dungeons, essentially) in order to battle Mirages, and these Idolaspheres feature some clever and unusual designs. Exploring them is a lot more engaging that simply walking to the exit and battling creatures along the way. The battle system, however, is arguably the star of the show in TMS♯FE. The key feature here is activating Sessions by targeting an enemy's weakpoint with a combat skill, either an elemental weakness or weapon weakness. Each character has a limited selection of skills (Itsuki, for example, uses swords and lightning magic), so you'll need to select your party carefully to effectively deal with the Mirages in the current Idolasphere—don't worry though, you can also swap characters from your reserves to your active party mid-battle if you need to switch things up. Hitting an enemy with a skill they're vulnerable to activates a Session, where every available party member jumps in with their own attack, creating a satisfying chain of damage that can also leap to other enemies in battle as well. Eventually you'll also get the chance to further augment Sessions with special skills called ad-libs and duo attacks, which can lead to some satisfying damage combos. On one hand these massive Session chains can make normal battles a little too easy, but they're still awfully satisfying to pull off. Plus there are always boss fights for the truly challenging moments, and when enemies aren't killed by a single session you'll realize there's more to the battle system and it requires a typical RPG's strategy and planning to survive (and a little luck). Boss fights can be pretty challenging in fact, but thankfully you can save at any time in the game (outside of battle) so as long as you remember to save frequently, a defeat won't result in much lost progress. The other major aspect of TMS♯FE's gameplay revolves around learning skills, which comes from crafting new weapons and using them in battle. Weapons can be crafted from items dropped from Mirages, so it's a nicely cyclical system—fight some Mirages, gather resources, craft new weapons, repeat. The crafting system is rather tedious in TMS♯FE though because you have to leave the Idolasphere and return to your base of operations to craft, and you'll probably want to do this several times in just a single dungeon, so there's a lot of running back and forth that easily could have been streamlined. Speaking of streamlining though, the Encore edition of the game does speed up one aspect of the game. You're now able to speed through Sessions, which is a huge time saver. As mentioned you're going to be triggering Sessions in every battle, multiple times, and by the end of the game Sessions can get ridiculously long. As nice as the animations are, being able to speed through them is a welcome change. Beyond that though, the other new features for the Encore edition are kind of underwhelming. Some of the side characters are able to jump into battle during a Session, and the interface for the game's message system has changed (since you don't have the Wii U Gamepad in hand anymore), but the main new feature is the EX Story, a short dungeon focused on two of the characters. It's great to have a new area to explore but it's ultimately a simple, brief side story that doesn't add too much either story- or gameplay-wise. It's probably not enough to convince you to play through the entire game again if you're on the fence, but fans of the game might enjoy having a bit extra to do. Not that the game's length really needs extending anyway—this is a full-length RPG, so you can expect at least 40 hours or so to finish the game. There are also several side quests with each of the game's main characters, and even though these are technically optional you really shouldn't skip them as they'll give you valuable bonuses and combat abilities. There are still some optional side missions to tackle though, and if you can't get enough of TMS♯FE you can try out New Game+ to keep the performance going even longer. Focused as it is on the Japanese idol industry, the look and sound of TMS♯FE is distinctly poppy: bright, flashy, and arguably overdone at times, but there's still a certain appeal to it all. Each character has multiple costumes you can use (including some from the game's original DLC as well as new ones for this Encore edition) so you can always experiment to find the look you like. Music is, naturally, a big part of a game focused on pop music idols, and there are some catching songs (including entire music videos) but again your enjoyment will largely hinge on your interest in the Japanese idol industry. The game is also fully voiced but only in Japanese which is, to be fair, appropriate for the game's style and setting. Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore isn't much of an overhaul or upgrade from the original Wii U title, but for anyone that missed its first performance this is a great opportunity to find new fans with a second showing. The core RPG elements remain wonderfully satisfying when you pull off long Session chains, and crafting weapons to unlock new skills is completely addictive, even if the crafting process is slower than it ought to be. Switch owners should be pleased to find yet another solid RPG port on Nintendo's hybrid system. Rating: 8 out of 10 Sessions
  12. Thankfully gamers and game stores are known as bastions of health and hygiene.
  13. - Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince (Switch) Glad the series got back to its roots after the disappointing Trine 3. Letting all players use every character is a welcome addition too—no more fighting over who gets to play Zoya. - Felix the Reaper (Switch) I was really pulled in by the game's oddball sense of style, and the puzzle design is decent, but ultimately I wasn't too impressed with Felix. - Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore (Switch) Really appreciate being able to speed up sessions; would've appreciated it even more if crafting weapons was also sped up! Still a fun game though, and another proud member of the Switch's RPG ports club. - Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch) Gave Golden Deer a try this time, though I also recruited all of the other students, and trying to max out all of the GD students' supports with other students means eating a lot of meals. Kind of wish I had just done GD as my first playthrough for all of its backstory on Byleth and Rhea, but oh well. - Shadow of the Colossus (PS4) I'd forgotten how cinematic the camera's movements are in this game, which also makes the camera controls kind of a pain to deal with sometimes, but still a really fun game when you get down to stabbin' colossi. Console: 25 Overall: 25
  14. I'm not up to date on every indie game in development, but it seemed like the showcase really focused on unannounced games, which is cool though I'm a little disappointed that we still don't have release dates for some announced games (or even games released on other systems). Anyway there was still a lot of cool stuff in the Showcase. Some standouts for me: Really enjoyed the art style of Baldo, has a Ghibli/Ni No Kuni vibe. Cautiously interested in the Cyanide & Happiness game. I expect it to be ridiculous, but if South Park can make solid video games, why not C&H. The concept of Quantum League sounds crazy and cool, though I'll need to see more of it to really be convinced by the premise. Blue Fire looks pretty good; I could go for a solid indie action/adventure. I've seen footage of Superliminal before and it looks just as mind-bending as ever. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Press release below:
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