The Pokemon QUEST Continues!

Oh man oh man I know I’m late with this one but I’m sure any self-respecting Nintendo & Pokemon fan already knows the news about the upcoming games “Let’s Go Pikachu!” and “Let’s Go Eevee!” due to release in November for the Nintendo Switch. These games will be compatible with Pokemon Go, which has recently inspired me to re-download the app and start playing again since the weather is getting nice! I’m way behind in Pokemon Go so I have plenty of work to do if I’m gonna catch ’em all! Where’s my Team Instinct squad at?? lol

Of course that wasn’t the only important Pokemon announcement. Another, main title franchise Pokemon game is coming out in 2019… and it will be releasing on the Switch! It’s a little sad that the 3DS is really starting to be phased out, but the potential awesomeness of playing a main Pokemon title on a big TV screen is too good to pass up. I hear that there will be even MORE new Pokemon added to the ‘Dex too so it’s time to renew my Pokemon Bank account and make sure I finish my Alola Dex before I fall too far behind! Gah!

Was that all? Nope! Right now you can download a “free-to-start” game called Pokemon Quest. It’s been on the eShop for about a week or so now and I downloaded it. Their game design choice was to make all of the Pokemon into block-form, as though they were made of legos or in the game Minecraft. Why are they like this? No clue.

They call it free-to-start because you can certainly start the game for free and play it for free, but it will be very slow. In this game you have a battery and when it runs out of charges you have to wait for it to re-charge, or use in-game currency, which you earn a little bit of each day… but there’s a lot of perks to buy and it’s easy to run out.

This is when the game becomes less free. Sure you can wait for your daily allocation, or you can pay real money to get more. If you buy the premium packages, not only do you get bonus in-game money, but you also earn more on your daily allotments. The premium packages also include other perks like decorations that help with getting certain color berry drops, attracting certain types of Pokemon, etc.  as well as a few higher level bonus ‘mons to add to your team right then and there.

I decided to buy the most expensive pack because it seemed like the best deal. For around $30 I got a major head start on the game, plus way more in-game bucks. This helped me bolster my team so I could make some good progress in expedition mode. Using their new My Nintendo gold coin function in the eShop, I was able to apply 400 coins and get $4 off my total price, which was pretty nice!

The actual gameplay is EXTREMELY CASUAL. Hardcore gamers will likely be frustrated with this game. Hardcore Pokemon fans gotta catch em all so I play it for the Pokedex completion, because the gameplay is frankly… boring. There’s two modes: automatic and manual. Neither of these modes allow you to control where the Pokemon move around in the field. (Originally I had expected this game to be like Pokemon Rumble, but in that game you have full control of your toy Pokemon.) What you can control, in the manual mode, is which Pokemon Attack the ‘mons in your team decide to use, and when. However, I found that trying to do manual mode was a bit chaotic and kind of wasteful, since I didn’t know where the ‘mons would be moving to, and my moves would end up missing. So I moved to automatic mode and took more of an “overseer” approach to the game. I play it more like team management strategy.

To make friends with new Pokemon, you have to cook up dishes using berries to attract different types of ‘mons to visit your little base camp. One time I even got a shiny! Once you have a Pokemon on your team, it will level up when it completes an expedition. The Pokemon seem to follow the normal evolution rules of their species, with the exception of any evolution stones, because I haven’t seen those. There are Power Stones that you can collect and apply to the Pokemon to increase their power and defense, as well as to amplify their moves. You can even train up your Pokemon to learn new moves, but you will have to sacrifice some of your existing Pokemon to finish the training. Choose wisely!

Overall, do I recommend this Pokemon Quest to all gamers? No. I would recommend it for younger players and those who just love anything from the world of Pokemon. It definitely is not like most other Pokemon games, and those looking for an RPG will be very disappointed. If you go into it with lower expectations, you might find that it’s a fun casual game to play when you’re on the go.

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Splatfest TMNT-style!

Last week it seemed like EVERY Nintendo Switch fan was talking about Splatoon 2. Why? Because the latest Splatfest had been announced and this one’s a doozy! It’s a three week single elimination bracket tournament to determine WHO IS THE BEST NINJA TURTLE!!

The animals in Mayor Gluxie’s Pocket Campsite were gearing up for the epic battle. Luckily the latest premium fortune cookie (Hopkins’ Game Cookie) allowed us to have a Nintendo Switch at the campsite! If anyone is wondering… we have a 3DS too. Come visit my campsite and see! lol

Naturally, the first thing you do in a Splatfest is pick a side. Round One of the TMNT-themed tournament pitted Leonardo against Raphael. #TeamLeo and #TeamRaph were talking a lot of smack on social media leading up to the big day. Which team did I pick?

#TeamRaph all the way!

If it comes down to the goody-two-shoes Leonardo and anger-management-candidate Raphael, I’m picking the deep moody choice for sure! I never liked Leo even in the cartoons that I watched in the 90’s. (For those who are interested – my TOP FAVE is Michaelangelo, who will be competing in the next Splatfest this weekend. Cowabunga!)

Team Raphael was very strong. I felt that we were dominating from the beginning. It definitely helped that I had practiced a bit at the Nintendo Switch meetup event that I went to the night before!

After so much winning, I definitely needed a break. Luckily the Splatoon 2 Amiibo mode has lots of fun photo op things to play around with. I decided to take a dance break and have some fun!

Splatoon 2 is really a lot of fun. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of shooting games and paintball, because this game is a fun combination of the two. It’s kid friendly, but has enough challenging ranked modes to keep intense gamers involved too. The Splatfests add the voting fun that I miss from the “Everybody Votes” Wii Channel (throwback!!) along with friendly competition between friends. Plus it’s way better than ARMS. Forget ARMS.

OH and of course, who won the Splatfest? As if there were any question…

Inside the Nintendo Labo

With birthdays come presents, and so on Friday when I (and thousands of others) received the Amazon Treasure Truck alert for Nintendo Labo pick-up in NYC and a friend suggested this be her gift to me… I decided to go pick one up!

Amazon Treasure Truck!

I’ve never purchased anything through Treasure Truck before, so I was interested to see how it would work. My pickup location was near a Whole Foods, so I walked over to the store and found the truck stationed around the corner. There was only a short line – I don’t know if that’s because I got there on the early side, or if the demand is low for this game, but I was relieved that this wasn’t going to take too long. A table was set up for people to enter to win a free Nintendo Switch, and other workers were scanning our Treasure Truck QR codes and handing out the huge Nintendo Labo boxes.

Practice Tutorial: Joy Con Holder

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a collection of “Toy Con” construction sets, as well as a Nintendo Switch game to guide you through the assembly and facilitate the cool game features that the Toy Con unlock. While the game is certainly geared towards kids, an adult is most likely required during the Make phase, which can get a little complicated! I’ve only made the RC Car Toy Con so far, check it out!

The RC car has no wheels, and is powered by the Joy Con inserted into the side, causing vibration down the legs of the RC car, propelling it forward. (It only works on hard surfaces, and my room is carpeted so I just used the Labo box.)

The RC Car set comes with a cardboard car to follow along with in the instructions, a matching ‘antenna’ to stick on the Switch console, as well as a few extra add-ons and stickers! It also comes with a second cardboard RC car that you can build if you have a second set of Joy Con to use with it. Right now I only have the gray set, but I’m going to get a colored Joy Con set with a birthday gift card. (SIDE BAR: I really can’t decide which color Joy Con set to get! Red and Blue, or Neon Yellow and Pink?? They are both really cool! I wish there was an Orange and Blue option… Leave me a comment on which set I should get tho!!)

You probably wanna see the RC car in action. It’s actually pretty loud. I made a quick video for you to see that this actually works. In the video you can see that I use the Switch console as a controller and press buttons on the screen to make the RC car move – and I can control the left and the right independently if I choose. That’s cool and all, but a little bland, right?

When you complete the initial construction and play through the mechanics, you are taken to the next phase of the Nintendo Labo game, the Discover phase. In this separate section of the game, you can explore some additional features of the new Toy Con you just built, and see some suggested new ways to play. When it comes to this RC Car that I made, did you realize that since the Joy Con utilize built-in IR technology that this RC car also has a fully functional ‘night-vision’ camera?? I didn’t, until I was checking through this Discover section! I used it in the day time but in my photo here you can clearly see the camera POV of my RC Car as it sits on top of the Nintendo Labo box.

There are other hidden features in the RC car, such as the ability to auto-navigate via use of reflective tape. There is also a ‘two player’ mode for people who have a second set of Joy Con. You can build that second RC Car that I mentioned and set up RC Sumo Matches! Or try racing them! Or come up with something else… I had fun freaking out my cat with my RC Car!! lol

OK so now you have your RC Car, and maybe a friend to RC Sumo with, but you still need to add a little SOMETHING to make this more fun? Nintendo Labo also provides a few extras to customize your RC Car. There is a Plow attachment, an Elephant head attachment, and a Sunglasses attachment. The Discover section also shows ideas on how to use paints, markers, and all sorts of materials to really customize the RC car and make it special. As a bullet journal enthusiast, I have plenty of washi tape and stickers on hand. Here is my final RC Car Masterpiece:

My RC Car! Does he need a name??

What do you think of my RC Car? If anyone else has this game and wants to race or sumo wrestle their car, hit me up!! lol

Since Nintendo Labo is so hands-on and mysterious to everyone, I’ll continue to document my construction of Toy Con projects for future blog entries. Unless you totally think this is over-sharing and want me to stop, let me know in the comments about that too hahaha!!

In closing, Happy Earth Day! And Carney‘s Birthday! Plus it’s Nature Day in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp! (Not to mention there’s ANOTHER new feature coming soon in ACPC! I’ll blog about it when it’s released!! Yayyyyy!)

Kirby Star Allies: First Impressions

Finallyyyyyy today I had some time to play videogames! I’m still in the middle of Bayonetta 2, which I love. (If you like some action and bad ass sexy witches, definitely check out that series.) But when it comes to Kirby, I can’t say no. Just like Kirby can’t say no to another delicious cake!!! (OK I can’t say no to that either lol!)

The latest Kirby installment was just released for Nintendo Switch. I haven’t had a ton of time to play it yet, but I wanted to share my first impressions of the new changes in Kirby Star Allies. There are new features that breathe fresh air into the series and make it feel more modern, and a lot of fun!

Mixed abilities are back! You can add up to four allies to your team by throwing a heart at an enemy. If that team member is an elemental abilitly, like fire, you can combine this element with all of the other teammates! Fire yo-yos! Icy curling Kirby! It’s really fun to try out the different combinations.

The stage selection screen has an open world feel, with stars hiding in secret spots around the world. It’s big and fun to explore. You can easily see which stages need to be revisited and where a secret stage might be hiding!

Puzzle pieces!!! As you play through the game, keep a look out for puzzle pieces hiding all over the place. Then after you beat the stage, you fill in puzzles – just like in the StreetPass game on 3DS. That includes harder to find pink puzzle pieces that are in the center and I’m sure will be a challenge to complete! I love how something so cute and simple can increase the difficulty of this otherwise simple platformer. Kids and adults alike can have fun with this game.

There are lots of new friends to make, too! I’ve only added Waddle Dee so far, but Nintendo has announced that lots of cool characters will be added soon in an update coming at the end of the month. I’m super excited because some of the characters that are being added to Dream Friends are the helper friends from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 which I loved when I was a kid!

So are you a Kirby fan? Have you been playing this game too? What are your thoughts about this cute puffball fighter?

Masterpiece of the Year?

Greetings to all my Nintendo nerds! I can’t believe it’s November already. Maybe I should dust off my 3DS and check in on my Animal Crossing town sometime, grab some mushroom furniture. But who has time when we have been blessed with some amazing new games in 2017?

As the year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on which games were really groundbreaking in 2017. We certainly needed some escape from reality this year! Personally, as someone who went to art school and really appreciates the artistic design of video games, I felt there were two titles that I could qualify as “masterpieces.” Which was the best of the year? I am going to try to decide right now! lol

The first game I’m considering for Masterpiece of 2017 is the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. A long anticipated title, BotW launched with the Nintendo Switch at the start of the year. Fans were astounded by the new open world approach to their beloved Zelda franchise.

The art style was even more impressive. Using an updated approach similar to Wind Waker, the design of BotW uses what I’d describe as cel-shading with water colors. It’s not overly cartoony, and it’s very much high definition. Individual blades of grass bend in the wind. Wispy strands of hair blow in the breeze. For the amount of time that fans waited for the latest Zelda title, it’s clear that it was worth the delays.

My personal opinion: If you really follow my blog, you’ll see that I don’t talk about Zelda a lot… b/c I never really beat these games. The only game I even got close to beating was Phantom Hourglass. Since BotW was basically the big name launch title for the Switch, I got it mostly b/c everyone else was playing it, and not b/c I had been desperately waiting to play it. However, when I did start playing it I was completely obsessed! It’s a very immersive experience, and I really loved the freedom of the open world. 

The second game in contention for Masterpiece of 2017 is *gasp* NOT A NINTENDO GAME. I know – it’s hard to believe that I play games on other systems. And honestly, I usually don’t. But there’s an indie game called Cuphead that FINALLY came out on Xbox 1 and Steam this year, and as far as art style is concerned… it’s a doozy!!

Now I realize that not everyone had the same upbringing as me, and may not realize the nostalgia factor in Cuphead. But I was raised watching Betty Boop and Silly Symphonies cartoons on loop ad nauseam. The creators of Cuphead took every step necessary to produce their videogame with the same exact art style that was popular in the 1930’s. This includes the hand drawn animation, 24 fps frame rate, the use of lampshade effect and much more.

Cuphead is a standard 2D platformer style game, and initially had been designed to have a Mega-Man-esque Boss Battles setup. But when the hype train rolled in, the creators expanded the game to have some standard platformer stages in addition to the boss battles. That’s all well and good… except they made the game insanely challenging. Many casual gamers find themselves unable to fully appreciate the game due to not being able to progress and see all of the stages.

My personal opinion: I was literally waiting YEARS for this game to be released. Delays and more delays pushed the game back several times and I waited patiently. When the game FINALLY released, I downloaded it right away and was so excited! Unfortunately, I haven’t actually been able to experience much of the game. I guess I’m just one of those lame casual gamers who isn’t good enough at platformers to progress in the game. It makes me very sad that after years of anticipation, and having loved this art style my ENTIRE LIFE… I can’t even see all of the gorgeously designed stages hiding in this game. 

You can probably guess which game gets my vote by now. As much as I wanted to love Cuphead soooo much… it fails b/c I can’t actually play it. The game does not forgive anyone who isn’t at ‘their level’ which I feel is kind of mean and makes me feel excluded and alienated. And it makes me not want to buy another game by Studio MDHR. First they made me wait, then the gameplay drops the ball… so they blew it with me. Being the belle of the ball doesn’t get you everywhere in life!! In Breath of the Wild I am free to explore the entire world, appreciate all of it’s beauty and play at my speed. And it’s darn pretty too.

SIDE NOTE:

Most people will want to interject – HEY WHAT ABOUT SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY?? That game is glorious too! I will give it an honorable mention. I don’t think that it’s a masterpiece, in that the art style of Odyssey is basically on par with every other 3D Mario game, albeit updated to the latest HD graphics, of course. New abilities and game functionality, plus the awesome smoothness of the controls thanks to the Joy Con and Pro Controller, make this game awesome! No doubt about that. But masterpiece? Not exactly. What makes Super Mario Odyssey a contender in this category is that the game truly allows you to create YOUR OWN MASTERPIECE. This game goes way beyond taking screenshots. You can change the camera angles, zoom, blur, add filters, add text if you want… it’s a meme gold mine. I created several masterpieces of my own:

Screenshot by @gluxbox

Screenshot by @gluxbox

Any game that lets ME make my own art gets a thumbs up from the Glux Box!

This is just my opinion, of course. Which game would YOU consider to be the Masterpiece of 2017??

Hands On with the Nintendo Switch!

Woo what a weekend! Everyone has been talking about the Nintendo Switch ever since the presentation last Thursday, which introduced the system and showcased the new Joy Cons – the convertible controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch system. But I felt lucky because I had a ticket for the Nintendo Switch Preview Event in NYC! I was able to get a hands-on demonstration of the Nintendo Switch system, the Joy Cons, software and more!

The event was held at a secret off-site location in midtown, open only to invited ticket holders. (I was able to get a ticket by logging into my MyNintendo account when they first announced the event. This apparently triggered an event invite to be sent to me at the time. So what have we learned? Log into MyNintendo once in a while!) I went with one of my besties, CarneyVorous. We braved the cold wintery weather and it was SO worth it!

20170114_185030As we approached the entrance, we were surprised to see that Link from Breath of the Wild was guarding the door. Well, Link and a dozen event coordinators. Everything was very organized, which was nice. They checked our tickets and finally after long last… WE WERE INSIDE THE SNEAK PREVIEW EVENT!

The event consisted of two large rooms. The first room had a glamorous setup with a main stage, glass windowed demo cubicle setups, and a third of the room dedicated to Legend of Zelda demo stations. The second room had a huge area dedicated to Splatoon 2 demos, as well as third-party titles and a Super Mario Odyssey photo-op station! It was a lot to take in. We didn’t even know where to start! Sadly, the Zelda line got ridiculously long in a short amount of time, so we decided to make the most of our time by trying as many fun demos as we could.

Our first stop was Splatoon 2. Who could resist? To make the experience even more *new*, the demo we played was done on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode. This means the player is watching the Switch screen with the Joy Cons attached to the sides. This mode is pretty similar to playing on the Wii U Game Pad, which I personally enjoy a lot. The Splatoon controls were set to use the gyroscope. It can be tricky if you’re not used to playing that way, but the Switch console is light and easy to move around as needed. I also decided to try out the new Splatoon weapon which was introduced in this latest title – the Splat Dualies! I thought they were pretty sweet. They shoot fast and it’s easy to aim. I played very well, got second place in my winning team with those Splat Dualies! (Did much more terribly with the Splat Roller in the second round. Sad face.)

Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch in hand-held mode.

Next, we wanted to get an up-close look at the Nintendo Switch Joy Cons by checking out the glass cubicle 1-2-Switch Demo Stations! The 1-2-Switch game utilizes the Joy Cons in a way that showcases all of the new features it has to offer, including HD Rumble technology. This game is unique in that you don’t really need to look at the screen to play – it’s all about playing with other people, making eye contact, interacting with humans… you know, scary stuff.

The 1-2-Switch Demo consisted of Quick Draw, Milking Cows (yep) and Counting Marbles. Each game showed a different feature of the Joy Con controllers. I will note that the Nintendo reps insisted on using the wrist straps with the Joy Cons for this game. Very sensible – and side note! – the wrist strap adds an extra half inch of width to the controller, which makes it even easier to hold.

Quick Draw showcased the Joy Con’s basics, such as motion control. Milking Cows introduced new ways to feel awkward around your friends (because yes, the game is exactly what you think it is) and also makes use of the L and R buttons that have been incorporated into the new controllers. Counting Marbles was the most interesting game in the 1-2-Switch Demo, because it featured the new HD Rumble effects. The Joy Con simulated the feeling of small marbles rolling around inside of it (and does an EXTREMELY CONVINCING JOB doing so) and you have to guess how many marbles are “inside.” You determine this by moving the Joy Con and “feeling” the marbles sliding around and clicking against one another. It was pretty amazing! The HD Rumble is very responsive and I am very interested to see how other games will incorporate this new technology.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Demo Stations

One of my all-time favorite games has always been Mario Kart. I would play after school with my friends on the N64 back in the day, and I haven’t stopped since! Playing MK on the go has always been a strong selling point… so being able to play MK8 Deluxe in full HD while on the move is going to be AH-MAY-ZING! To give us the full experience, Nintendo set up some fun ‘simulation’ demo stations. In the picture above, you see a fake diner with demo stations, as well as some guys in what looks like an RV? Or some kind of van?

Playing MK8 at

Playing MK8 at “the diner”!

Here I am “at the diner” enjoying some MK8 Battle Mode in handheld mode – which I won with Bowser, btw! It’s great to have some authentic battle mode back in the mix.

We also tried out a demo station that was set up to look like we were playing on an airplane. (Awesome idea!!) They set up the chairs to have those awful tray tables, and placed the Nintendo Switch in tabletop mode for us to play. Tabletop mode is when you have the screen standing up with the kickstand, and the Joy Cons are removed from the sides so that two people can use them and play while watching the screen. I will say that as a veteran MK player, I did not mind the Joy Cons for this game. Yes, if you’re using the Jon Cons, it is a small controller. Like I mentioned before, the wrist strap helps a lot with that issue. It takes some slight ‘getting used to’ but it’s not bad at all, and having usable L and R buttons meant that my game play was as good as ever! Please note that in this side photo, we were also trying out Mario Kart with the Joy Cons in what I am calling “nunchuck mode,” which is similar to the old Wii nunchuck and Wii Remote setup… without that cumbersome cord connecting them together! You can play with the Joy Cons as nunchucks, yet sit however you prefer, so that you can play comfortably. So much easier! Imagine how much better air travel will be when you’re challenging the random stranger sitting next to you to a Grand Prix!

We also tried out some other games, such as Street Fighter, Just Dance 2017, and PuyoPuyo Tetris. We got some cool swag – Nintendo Switch hats, pins, cookies, water bottles… It was a really good event. I wish they would host events like this every week! *sob*

Only 44 days until Nintendo Switch is released in stores!! Comment if you’ve got it preordered! What are you excited to play? I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the event…

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Battle Mode

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Battle Mode

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Joy Con [puppy] Controller

Tetris!!

PuyoPuyo Tetris!!

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch and Accessories

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Nintendo Switch Main Stage

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!

Super Mario Odyssey Photo Op!