As my local area continues to recover from the devastation brought on by Superstorm Sandy (many homes are only now FINALLY getting power turned on… 2 weeks after the storm!) I’ve been using videogames as an ‘escape’ from the harsh reality all around me. Luckily for me, several new awesome 3DS games were released recently. I’ve been attempting to play them all equally but it’s just not happening. But anyway, here’s what I’ve been playing lately:
- Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask – Everyone’s favorite puzzle solving professor is at it again! I’ve played an earlier title in this series (though I forget which one) and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to trying out the new 3DS game. As expected, the 3D graphics are really cool, it makes the environment you have to search much more real. There are new searching functions, like ZOOMING which open up the search area even more. Let’s not forget the PUZZLES too! Just as challenging as ever, the puzzles take on a wide variety of themes and use logic and math to solve. The storyline is very interesting too, it takes place in both present day and Layton’s past, revealing new sides to the often dull and no-nonsense professor’s personality. I don’t know if this was a feature in the older games, but there are really fun side-quest mini games in this new title, including training a cute bunny, operating a robot and being an assistant in a shop. There’s also 365 new puzzles that can be downloaded for free (once per day) and who doesn’t like FREE DLC? Overall it’s a great title and I highly recommend it to anyone who “likes to break a mental sweat.”
- Harvest Moon: A New Beginning – The long awaited newest installment of the Harvest Moon franchise is finally here! HM:ANB has a lot to live up to, as the previous title (Tale of Two Towns) had an excellent storyline and great new controls to make gameplay easier. ANB so far isn’t quite the same; the start of the game is extremely slow, and your town is basically a ghost town at the start. Without the weekly Cooking Festival, it is hard to build friendships with the townies early on, but if you stick with the game the rewards start coming out at the end of Spring Year 1. The biggest upgrade to the game would have to be the CUSTOMIZATION! You can move just about any aspect of your farm to wherever you want. And instead of paying Gannon thousands of dollars to build a shed on your homestead, you are given access to a studio where you can build these add-ons yourself, if you have the necessary materials and tools. I’ve only barely begun to unlock all the blueprints to build custom objects for my farm and the surrounding town. Another pitfall I’ve discovered so far is the lack of pets. I miss my pets! Now, I don’t know if they just haven’t been unlocked yet, but I sure don’t enjoy pushing my big fat cow out of the barn every morning! Luckily I did just get a blueprint to create a cow bell, which will hopefully make matters slightly easier. But I want a doggy!! Don’t get me wrong, this game is awesome, it’s just kind of slow to start. For die-hard HM’ers, this is no big deal. I think I’ll start blogging more about this game, just because Vella has been doing that and it seems fun hehe!
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star – I’ve been a big fan of the Paper Mario franchise since the original title was released for the N64. I always loved the art style and the RPG battle format. The new 3D title does not disappoint, the 3D graphics look SO COOL! So far the storyline is really interesting, and since everything is made of stickers, there are a lot of hidden areas and secrets to discover by peeling away the scenery. The only thing I can complain about so far in this game is the fact that you have to battle using stickers. No more FP for moves, instead you can only use moves that you have in your sticker book. Each sticker is one attack move, and once you use it, it’s gone! So you are constantly stressing about finding the right stickers and managing the stickers you have. While I might be complaining because it’s different from the older games, I do admit the change of battle style does keep things interesting and it’s fun when you find a cool rare sticker! So I’m not really complaining, but it is an adjustment. I also like how the game incorporates a little more of the Super Mario feel in the world map. In previous games it was just a linear map, you go from Point A to Point B. In Sticker Star you have more options on where to go and what order you want to work toward completion, with a map that more closely resembles one you’d find in a Super Mario game. I really do love this game, it is an excellent mix of the classic Paper Mario and new innovative game play ideas.
I’d highly recommend any of these three games. Professor Layton is definitely for a more mature crowd, the brain-busting puzzles and eloquently written storyline are definitely more appealing to adults than kids. (Though I’m sure there’s plenty of smart kids out there who enjoy the game!) Harvest Moon takes on new challenges, but with it’s slow start and unique gameplay style, I admit it’s better suited for the seasoned HM player. Not sure a player new to the Harvest Moon series would have the patience to stick it out a whole month with no action, two crops and one cow. But if you’re willing to wait, it’s turning out to be a fantastic game! Paper Mario, as I’m sure is no surprise, is a great game for gamers of all ages and level of gaming experience. It’s just an amazing title for the 3DS and has been well worth the wait.
In addition to all this, I’m also trying to finish up Pokemon Black 2, and at the same time starting up Pokemon White 2. In Black 2 I’m attempting to beat the Battle Tower in Black City (I just unlocked Area 10 but it’s really hard and I’m scared to try the final level!!) and JDubz and I finally beat the Multi-Battle Subway. My Pokemon White 2 I’ve only just started up, and so I’m slowly but surely making my way through that game. Phew! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to play all these games!
Speaking of not having enough time to play everything, the problem is going to increase even MORE next Sunday. Why is that? Well, silly, that’s because the Wii U is being launched on November 18th! JDubz and I preordered our Black Wii U bundles through Best Buy. Not our first choice, but with the preorders being so limited, we took what we could find. However, since Best Buy has a reputation for taking preorders and then not having enough product to actually fulfill said preorders, we plan on going REALLY early and waiting for hours for the store to open. We are NOT missing out on the launch of this new console! Even if that means freezing our butts off! So of course I’ll keep you all posted on how that turns out. We’re just glad we didn’t end up preordering through the GameStop in JDubz’s town, since that store was completely flooded and to this day has still not re-opened.
So, have you been playing any of the games I’d mentioned? Are you getting a Wii U at launch too? Let me know what you’re playing in the comments!
Before I go, I have to plug my friend Vella’s blog because she is fortunate enough to have a basic understanding of Japanese and has a JP 3DS console. This means she also is lucky enough to have a copy of Animal Crossing 3DS (New Leaf) and has been blogging diligently about all the new features and characters she’s been discovering in her new AC town. I’m so jealous! Please check out her blog for a sneak peek at all the awesomeness that comes with the newest Animal Crossing installment! I’m still waiting for a US release date for this game. It looks SOOOO AMAZING. Can’t wait! For now, let’s all live vicariously through Vella’s blog!