Game Review: Return to Popolocrois

Well, I’ve never been to Popolocrois before, but this game Return to Popolocrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale has been impressing me from the minute I started playing!

This game was a little treat I bought for myself while holiday shopping. I bought it ‘used’ from GameFly using member coupons, so it only cost me $6! Not too shabby, not to mention that ‘used’ is a status that doesn’t really matter with 3DS cartridges, so it’s basically a brand new game for cheeeeap! Awesome.

Anyway, if you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you’ll know I’ve been a fan of Harvest Moon games for several years. It’s my kind of game, low key collection and simulation – great for “escapist” gamers like me! However, sometimes HM games (and the new Story of Seasons title, which is the newest iteration from XSEED games) can get a little… bland. The most action you normally can get in a farming game is the mining dungeon crawl. However, Return to Popolocrois fixes this with a new twist!

In Return to Popolocrois, you are a young prince who has been sent to a world that has been taken over by an evil Dark Lord, while the prince’s home kingdom is now at risk of being the Dark Lord’s latest victim. Prince Pietro must now save BOTH kingdoms because it is the right thing to do! And of course, what is deeply affected by the Dark Lord’s evil ways? Farmlands, of course! How can the people survive if their farmland is not able to grow crops? (And there we have our tie-in to the Story of Seasons background lol!) In order to save the farming lands, we must work with the local fairies, battle evil enemies, and explore dungeons to clear out the Dark Lord’s hold on the land. Then you can use this freshly cleared land to plant crops!

What’s great about this game is that the farming is much easier than in SoS or older HM titles. The crops won’t wilt, and the game will even give you notifications on when the crops need to be watered or harvested. Same goes for farm animals (available later in the game) who won’t die but simply get hungry if you forget about them. There aren’t any fancy ‘maker’ machines (so far) in RTP – yes I’m going w/that abbreviation lol – but you can Synthesize different crops and other items to create cooked dishes, new weapons, etc. The only thing I really miss is the seed maker. At least at the point I am in the game, the only way to get seeds for crops is to buy them, earn them, or receive them in an item drop after defeating enemies in the right region.

If farming isn’t really your thing, you can do the bare minimum to get by. But if you don’t like farming, what are you doing playing an XSEED game lol? Anyway, the battle system is pretty fun. You can move around the battle field, similar to “Fire Emblem” games. The battles look and feel very similar to the game “My Fantasy Life.” You can level up your characters, purchase or synthesize new armor and weapons, and each character has special skills. These skills have elemental powers, and if certain characters are playing in the same team, there are also Partner Skills that can be unlocked. If that wasn’t cool enough, in the game settings you can adjust the frequency of the random battles, so if you want to grind and level up you can change the number of enemy encounters to high! (Or if you want to just run through an area without being bombarded, change it to low and/or use a special item to ward off these enemies.)

Fans of the Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon franchise will also be happy to learn that you can also have a significant other (kinda) in this game. Prince Pietro is only 13 after all, and won’t be getting married anytime soon. But he does have little ‘girlfriends’ across all of the in-game regions, and you can visit them and give them gifts. The game even gives you a notification if one of them is missing you! Cute!

So far I’ve really been enjoying the game. The only thing that makes me nervous is that since this was a used game, the cartridge I received already had a completed save file. And that completed game save file only had 53 hours played in total. This tells me that the game is fairly quick to beat, and possibly doesn’t have much post game. I haven’t completed the game yet myself, so maybe this person wasn’t a hardcore farmer. (I can’t say for sure, because I refuse to play that game file and see spoilers lol!) Once I finish the game, maybe I’ll report back. But to play it safe, if you’re interested in trying out this game, I recommend buying it used like I did. I think the game is SERIOUSLY fun and if you like cute farming games with some fun action and battles, definitely give this game a try!

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New “About Me” Page

Hm… what is it about me?  What do people want to know about the Gluxbox?

I’m not entirely sure.  But most blogs and websites have an About Me page and I figured it was time for the Glux Blog to have one as well.  Of course I didn’t know what to write…  it’s always kind of awkward to write a mini autobiography.  What kinds of things do random people want to know about me?  I don’t know.

If you’re not actually on my site right now (damn you, email lurkers!  lol jk) then you don’t see the new link at the top of the page.  So here’s a direct link to my “Who is GLUXBOX?” page.  Even if you already know me, please take a minute to check out this new page.  If you can think of something about me that I’ve completely overlooked, or want to ask me a question, please feel free to comment your suggestions and inquiries!

I had intended to write a post about all the amazing presents I got for my birthday, but that kinda came and went, and it seems kinda silly to post something like that now.  I posted a list of my awesome presents on Facebook, so if you need to know, then you should be following my FB Page!  🙂

Unfortunately I don’t have time today to post everything I wanted to write.  Instead I will tease you with some upcoming blog topics:

  • Spirit Camera 3D Review
  • Harvest Moon:  My Wedding Day
  • Pokemon HG/SS Revisited
  • uDraw!!
  • And much much more, blah blah blah, etc!  😀

What’s Next?

This is a “calm” time for me right now, in terms of video games.  There’s no HUGE title out there that I’m dying for, except for Pokémon Black and White 2, which doesn’t even come out until June…  and if I want to understand anything in the game, the North American version isn’t available until the fall.  So I’ve got some down time in terms of games right now, and I’m very happy about that!  I can play whichever games I need to catch up on, at my LEISURE, without the pressure of a big event that I need to be prepared for, or feeling obliged to complete a game before some new one comes out.  Ahh..

So here’s what’s on my plate.  I’m going to list my goals for some of my unfinished games, in hopes that by writing it down, it might actually become a to-do list that I can actually accomplish lol!

  • Kid Icarus: Uprising –  Earlier this week, I completed the story mode!  Hooray!  But I only completed it at level 3.  And there’s like a billion more weapons, powers, idols and achievements that I haven’t unlocked.  Not to mention all the AR cards I haven’t collected or scanned.  I’d like to at least be able to improve my skill and increase the difficulty level to hopefully level 5 or 6 someday?
  • Harvest Moon:  Tale of Two Towns – There is a TON of stuff I still have to accomplish in this game.  Sure, I reunited the two towns, opened the tunnel and all that.  But my character isn’t MARRIED yet (that’s like such a big deal in this game lol), I haven’t unlocked half of my farm’s features (such as a rice paddy, a seed maker or a flour mill), and there are lots of tasty dishes I haven’t cooked up yet!  There’s always plenty of work to do on a farm, I guess.
  • Pokémon SoulSilverSince I started this game late, I’m not even half way through at this point.  My goal here would be to beat the game, and unlock as many legendaries as possible.  I need the legendaries so that I’ll have spares to transfer over to the Gen V series games, such as B&W.  That way I can keep my fully completed Pokédex in HeartGold intact!
  • Mario Kart 7 – It’s somewhat embarrassing for me to admit this, considering how much I had dominated in MK Wii, but I never beat this game.  I still have to get gold on the Special Cup to unlock Metal Mario and stuff.  And I’ve never really used the racing community features in this game.  Not to mention all the ghost time trial StreetPass stuff that I’d like to finish!
  • Sonic Generations – I’m not huge into Sonic or anything, but this game is cute and I’ve barely dented it.  I’ll probably never beat this game but making progress always gives me a sense of satisfaction, so I’ll keep this one in my mini 3DS games case, should I feel inspired to play a few rounds.  This game, in general, is pretty tough and I didn’t have a SEGA growing up, so it’s all kinda alien to me.  It’d probably be easier if I knew the right path to take to complete each board lol!
  • Spirit Camera – I’m expecting to get this game for my birthday on Saturday.  Since it’s an AR game, I am kind of assuming it’s gonna be one of those “high on graphics, low on gameplay” kinda games.  I know the 3D and ghost-hunting aspects of the game will be AWESOMEEEE but not really sure if the game has anything to offer in terms of replay value.  My goal for this game is to just enjoy it, and hopefully beat it.
  • Pokémon Emerald – Might as well throw a GBA game into the mix.  I’ve gotten about half way through this game, and it’s really awesome for an older generation game.  You can really see how some ideas from Emerald were evolved into newer features in the modern games.  So I’d like to complete this game, and see which legendaries I can harvest from it.  YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY LEGENDARIES!!!  lol
  • Mario Party 9 – Now onto Wii games.  I’d like to unlock all the boards in this game, and hopefully beat the Solo mode.  But I don’t really play on my Wii that much so I have no idea when I’ll actually accomplish this!  😛
  • Kirby’s Return to Dreamland – This Wii game is so freaking awesome, it’s really a shame that I’m letting it collect dust on my shelf right now.  I’d love to complete the story mode in this game, and unlock as many parts of the spaceship as possible.  This game is a lot of fun, but even MORE fun if you take advantage of the co-op game play options, so maybe I’ll take it to JDubz’s house and we’ll try to beat the game together.
  • Super Paper Mario – I rented this game back in like 2008 when it first came out.  Then I got kind of lost in the game (the story line is VERY long and the worlds are huge and you can quickly get confused) and gave up and sent it back to GameFly.  Ever since Paper Mario 3D was announced, I’ve been itching to give this Wii version a second chance.  I even got the Nintendo Selects edition of this game for Christmas… but I still have yet to take it out of the plastic wrap.  So my goal in that game would be to start over and try to actually beat it this time!

Wow…  that list came out wayyyy longer than I thought.  I highly doubt I’ll be reaching every one of these goals by June 23rd, but hey no rush!  This is about relaxing and just doing my thing.

Do you have any goals for your video games?  Which games have you kind of overlooked lately?  Let me know your goals too!  🙂

Why You Need a 3DS

Lately I’ve seen a lot of people saying that they don’t want/need a 3DS.  Even despite the ridiculous price cut, people still aren’t as interested in the 3DS as Nintendo would like.  I often wonder why that is, especially considering how people are DYING to get the Wii U.  Is HD gaming really the only thing gamers are interested in these days?  I think the lack of interest in the 3DS is due to poor marketing, and the fact that none of the most awesome features are being explained to the public.

Penny Arcade on the 3DS

TODAY I PLAN TO CHANGE THIS!

Here are my Top 10 Reasons to Get a 3DS System:

  1. Nintendo Zone.  This feature is new and exclusive to the 3DS, due to it’s portability.  All you have to do is bring your 3DS with you to a designated retailer or restaurant which hosts the Nintendo Zone, and you are able to access exclusive Nintendo content, videos and even special offers (like my 50% off discount at Best Buy which I blogged about previously).
  2. Free Apps.  Specifically Pokédex 3D, Swapnote and Netflix.  (Obv you need a paid subscription to Netflix for that one to work, though.)  I’m pretty sure I’ve already discussed how cool Pokédex 3D is… I mean, I can take a 3D photo of a Pokémon in my HAND!  Or posed in some funny way!  Maybe I should take a few minutes to take some new Pokémon AR photos.  Swapnote is the newest free app available, and it’s really cute!  You can write notes to your friends, LAYERED IN 3D!  There’s cute stationery, you can attach a photo or even a sound clip!
  3. Super Mario 3D Land.  If you are a true Nintendo fan, you need to play this game!  The latest Mario installment takes the game to the next level with robust 3D graphics, intense gameplay, 3D images that you can save to your SD card, and the Special World mode!  (Spoiler Alert:  Luigi comes to upstage Mario in this game!)
  4. Nintendo eShop.  Did you play Super Mario Land back in the early 90’s?  Have you ever wished you could revisit that time in your life, but with the ability to actually PAUSE and SAVE your game?  Back when the Game Boy game was available, you had to beat the entire game in one sitting.  You couldn’t save.  However, when you download Virtual Console version of this game from the eShop, you can SAVE YOUR GAME!  It’s like a miracle!  The eShop’s library is constantly getting new ‘vintage’ titles for a fraction of their original cost, including 3D versions of popular favorites from back in the day!
  5. Import Your Mii’s.  I’m lazy.  I didn’t feel like making a ton of new Mii’s to populate my Mii Plaza on my 3DS.  Luckily for me, you can transfer any/all/some of your Mii’s that you downloaded or created on the Wii and put them on your 3DS!  I love effortless things.  And now I can pose all my Mii’s in a lovely portrait using my AR Cards!
  6. 3D Video.  There was a big system update at the end of 2011, and in that update was the ability to record 3D videos!  Each video you record can be up to ten minutes long.  Imagine the 3D possibilities!
  7. Mario Kart 7.  Do I really need to explain how epic the newest MK game is?  You can fly through the sky, submerge into the sea, and continue to whoop your friends’ butts, without the confusion of turning a Wii Wheel!  The 3DS’ control pad makes MK7 a lot easier to drive, and the game play is more reminiscent of the N64 and GC versions.  And did I mention that you can form racing communities and battle your friends on WiFi?
  8. You Can Turn OFF the 3D.  Some people may not like 3D.  They say it hurts their eyes or somethin’.  Personally, I don’t have any problem with 3D but everyone’s different.  What many people don’t realize is that you can turn OFF the 3D.  Or just turn it down really low.  Or leave it on for 15 minutes til your eyes hurt, then turn off the 3D.  It doesn’t affect game play, the 3D is really only there to enhance your experience!  It’s up to you how you want to use it.
  9. New Games are in 3D.  All the newest DS games worth playing are going to be on the 3DS.  With Animal Crossing 3DS, Paper Mario 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and many other anticipated titles on the horizon, now is the time to get this amazing console!  And it’s inevitable, I’m sure GameFreak will be making a 3D Pokémon game (one that is not Rumble Blast, I should say) that will blow all the previous Pokémon games out of the water.  Don’t miss out!
  10. STREETPASS!  I am obsessed with StreetPass.  You take your 3DS with you wherever you go, then when you see a green light flashing… YOU GOT A STREETPASS!  It’s always so exciting for me.  Who did I get?  Have I met them before?  There are two games in StreetPass Plaza.  You can complete Puzzles by exchanging puzzle pieces with people via StreetPass.  Or you can play the epic Find Mii II game, where you take your newly acquired Mii friends and battle against ghosts, slimes, ghouls and monsters!  That’s not enough for you?  Then I should probably mention that most 3DS games also have a StreetPass feature – you can get powerup’s in Super Mario 3D Land.  Race ghosts of other people in Mario Kart 7.  Trade items in Harvest Moon: ToTT 3D.  It’s just so freaking cool.

How could anyone NOT want this??

OK, challenge me.  Tell me why you STILL don’t want a 3DS.  I’d like to hear your reasons!  And don’t just give me that whole region-locked excuse.  If you are rich enough to afford buying Japanese games from Japanese websites (and paying outrageous shipping costs), then you can afford a Japanese 3DS too lol!