Saturday, August 24, 2019

The "Jo" of Mojoverse is now Writing for myPotatoGames!


You may have noticed that this blog has been inactivate for a few months now and I just wanted to explain why. In March 2019 I became an official staff writer for myPotatoGames writing news and reviews on wholesome, cute, indie, and casual video games! Ever since then, I've become a much better writer and gained a tremendous amount of experience for which I am grateful. I've also had the chance to do online interviews with developers and other creators in the industry, and meet a lot of great new people!

I'm hoping you can join me over here: https://mypotatogames.com/ where my new home is for the foreseeable future or on my professional Twitter page here: https://twitter.com/JoelleLavoie12. If you've been a follower since Mo and I opened our Mojoverse store back in 2015, I'd like to thank you very much for being with us on this journey. Subscribe to the website or add me, "Joelle", to your freinds' list!

My myPotatoGames Profile

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Mamoru Hosada Anime Films

Image result for boy and the beast

I was originally going to write about a few anime film creators and directors that have been gaining a lot of steam and have been compared to the likes of Hayao Miyazaki (which everyone should already know about and if I included his works in a favourite anime movie list than it would be too long) but after watching or re-watching a few, only one man stood out to me and that's Mamoru Hosada. The other was possibly Makoto Shinkai as his popularity soared with his movie Your Name (2016) but I have the unpopular opinion of that film being rather lame. I can't stand "body swap" films and the second half of the movie reminded me of The Lake House (Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock) so I wasn't really surprised with certain twists. 

I've also watched his older works The Place Promised in Our Early Days, 5 Centimeters Per Second and the Garden of Words which were all extremely boring to me with barely anything happening during the films. I was told however that his fantasy film Children Who Chase Lost Voices is really good so I will eventually check that one out. A movie that I did enjoyed was Mary and the Witch's Flower directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc founder Yoshiaki Nishimura, which is a brand new studio created in 2017 with this movie being their first feature film, so they are promising. It's based off a novel and even though I thought the movie was great overall, it did bother me a little that is was almost identical to Kiki's Delivery Service right down to the broomstick and black cat and I'm assuming that the animation was very similar to that of Studio Ghibli's because Yoshiaki Nishimura was a former employee there. Plot-wise I think that they should have focused on the magic school a little more but right now I'm here to talk about other films and be forewarned, there may be spoilers.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: This movie was released in 2006 while Mamoru Hosada worked at Madhouse and was written by Satoko Okudera. The premise of this movie isn't entirely original but was still entertaining. It's about a girl named Makoto that discovers a time-travel device (a walnut for some reason) and learns how to use it after she rewound time to the moment before she was about to get hit by a train. She then continues to use it for smaller things such as rewinding time so that she can keep enjoying the same night out with her friends or to keep eating the same pudding she loves and gradually starts using it in ways that affect other people's lives as well which start to  have negative outcomes.

The ending of this movie might ruin it for some as it did for me because it makes no sense and has a very bad grasp on time-travel. Without explaining the entire film, Makoto's love interest Chiaki decides to go back to his time period in the future, even though I'm sure he would prefer to stay there, and she says she will restore the painting that he wants to see and will make sure that it will still be view-bale in his future (we don't even know why he traveled back in time just to see this specific painting), even though it's right there right now in her aunt's possession so he could have gone to go see it, and then he says that he will wait for her in the future! Which has everyone theorizing what that could possibly mean because everyone has run out of "leaps" and she's no longer alive in his time. This movie still confuses me so I would have to say it's my least favourite of the bunch.

Summer Wars: This movie was released in 2009 and was again animated by Madhouse. It's about a high-school student named Kenji who is tricked into attending a girl's, Natsuki, family reunion for her grandmother's 90th birthday as her pretend fiancee. This could have a been a fine plot on it's own but while this is happening, there's an AI in a virtual world that's wrecking havoc all over the world by creating traffic jams, sewer backups and false alarms for emergency vehicles and Kenji inadvertently helped him hack the system by helping it solve a math problem. Of course the family finds out about this but doesn't understand the grave situation they are in at first because they don't understand how a "game" can affect real-life.

Apparently there a millions of users all over the world that have their information in their accounts in Oz but what confuses me is that, sure they conduct their businesses in there, but why are all of their confidential work files on the same server/network is beyond me, especially the government and their nuclear missiles. Aside from that being a little far-fetched and the fact that this movie was quite similar to Digimon: The Movie (which he also directed) in animation and plot, I still thought it was good.

Wolf Children: For this 2012 film, Mamoru Hosada created his own studio, Studio Chizu, and co-wrote it along with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. The movie is simply about a woman who fell in love with a man that could change into a wolf and had two children with him. Soon after the birth of her second child, she finds that her husband died trying to hunt for food for them and now she has to raise these children alone knowing very little about their nature while trying to keep them hidden from the world. I wasn't expecting this movie to be so depressing, especially so early on, and it  broke my heart to watch waste management professionals just toss her husband's body in the back of their garbage truck because he died in his wolf form and no one can understand why she is chasing the truck while crying and yelling.

Her children Ame and Yuki have a hard time controlling their transformations and she frequently gets visited by neighbours and landlords wondering what the animal noises are and why her children haven't been vaccinated. She eventually moves from her small apartment to a secluded house in the countryside and learns how to farm. The only thing I didn't like about this movie was the ending again. One child decides to live life as a human and eventually goes away to school and the other decides to remain a wolf and goes off into the mountains. I don't know why both of them couldn't just embrace both sides of themselves like their father did and change back-and-forth but after all their mother has been through, they completely abandon her. The son leaves for the mountains when her is just around 10 years old and for some reason never visits her ever again and the daughter I suppose stayed with her for a time but the way they said she left for school sounds like she never visited either which is quite disappointing.

The Boy and the Beast: This 2015 movie is by far one of my all-time favourites which I have zero complaints about. The plot revolves around a boy named Ren who just lost his mother, doesn't know the whereabouts of his father and no relatives willing to step up and take care of him. He runs away from the family into the streets. Meanwhile in another hidden "Beast" world, where everyone are anthropomorphic animals, which can be accessed by the human one, the lord of that kingdom wants to retire an name his successor but cannot decide between two candidates.

There's Iozen whom everyone seems to love and Kumatetsu whom everyone seems loathe. They are both strong and worthy but for Kumatetsu his heart just doesn't seem to be into it so the lord tells him to take on a disciple. That's when he finds Ren and decides to take him under his wing and gives him a new name, Kyuta. The bond between these two to me was just so adorable as Kyuta comes to see his master as also a father figure. My favourite scene is the one where he starts to mimic Kumatetsu's movements during household chores and impresses him with his willingness to learn and eventually melts that big ol' grumpy bear heart. I don't want to give anything else about this one away and highly recommend it!

I'm looking forward to watching the English version of Mamoru Hosada's newest film Mirai of the Future which will release in North America in late November this year. From what I gather from the trailer, it's about a boy who doesn't seem too keen about having a new baby sister in his life and one day, that girl travels from the future as a teenager to see him and they have an adventure together. Let me know what you guys thought of these films if you have seen them or let me know about other good anime films!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This is the first Zelda title that I didn't pick up right on its release date and not even a couple months later after all of the praise it was getting from gamers and critics. My initial reaction the a complete change in the formula I already loved was an unfavorable one and I was even more convinced that I wouldn't be picking up this title when videos surfaced of stamina bars running out when swimming, which lead to frequent drowning and also running out of stamina while climbing which also killed you. I know they were going for more realism but I only like that in my graphics alone and prefer to be able to run at super speed or to triple jump in the air. What's even worse is I knew that weapons were breakable which to me sounded like constant unnecessary stress to finding something to fight with. Regardless of all that, I finally gave in a couple months ago and haven't been able to stop playing, even after I beat the story which is something I rarely do.

Story

At its core it's about the usual one where there is always a Ganon trying to take over Hyrule and a Hero named Link and a Princess (Goddess) named Zelda that join together to defeat him, as we now know is a curse that will happen for all of time (Skyward Sword). In Breath of the Wild, they talk about how 10,000 years ago Ganon was defeated using the Sheikah's advance technology of four huge mechanical weapons called Divine Beasts and several other autonomous weapons called Guardians. 100 years prior to when we start the game, as learned in flashbacks, they try using the same method to defeat Calamity Ganon once again but they failed as he was able to turn all of their weapons against them by corrupting them and Zelda is forced to put Link in a healing sleep for all of those one-hundred years. You start the game as Link with amnesia and you have to discover what happened and how to retake control of their weapons and to this time successfully defeat Calamity Ganon. It's actually terrifying going around and finding broken down Guardians but occasionally hearing that dreadful music that starts playing when one is still operational and will start firing upon you from insane distances and kill you instantly if you aren't prepared.

The Sheikah Tribe have a big role in this game and its story; see following quote: "We of the Sheikah tribe have long been heralded as a people of great wisdom. Our technology became the key to sealing Ganon away during the Great Calamity, some ten thousand years ago. At one point, our technology was praised as the power of the gods...but eventually the people turned on it. Turned on us. Our creations came to be viewed as a threat to the kingdom. T

he Sheikah became outcasts, forced into exile. Some, like us, chose to cast off our technological advances and strove to live normal lives. Others fostered a hatred towards the kingdom that shunned them. These sad souls swore their allegiance to Ganon. They now call themselves the Yiga Clan. Their sole mission is to eliminate all who stand against Ganon. Please, dear hero... be careful out there." Perhaps that explains why Ganon was able to corrupt the Divine Beasts and Guardians because the Yiga Clan (Sheikah) knew of a way to do so with their own technology and also why Calamity Ganon during his boss fight looks like he has that same ancient technology incorporated into his body.

The Sheikah in Ocarina of Time were said to have once lived in Kakariko Village and now we see Impa (recurring Sheikah character), with the familiar Sheikah trait of white hair, in the same village. I was a little disappointed to find how simple and human the Sheikah were because they have always been so mysterious and powerful. I think I remember someone in the village mentioning that they have been mixing with humans over the years or perhaps they are just people who have adopted the ways of the culture. I just want to know why Impa has been around since the beginning and was tasked to always protect the Royal Family.

Gameplay

This game is a little more laid back as there are shrines all around the map and you can do them at your leisure and even skip the more difficult ones if you choose because their purpose is to solve a series of puzzles in order to accumulate orbs that you can then trade (with statues of the Goddess Hylia) to get an extra heart added to your health or extra stamina added. The shrines are also short so it doesn't take up all of your time playing.

There are only four larger series of tasks in four different regions to complete to push the story forward where you encounter familiar races like the Gerudo, the Zora, the Goron and, the Rito (from Winder Waker but are more reminiscent of the Loftwings from Skyward Sword). The rest of the time you can run around exploring all other areas, finding treasure chests, foraging for food and discovering new recipes, fighting stronger enemies for better weapons, upgrading your armor/outfits at Great Fairy Fountains, side-quests, recovering your memories, finding Korok seeds to expand your inventory slots, etc.

One thing I spent a lot of time was the use of the Camera ability because instead of just taking photos for the sake of it and you can not only complete a compendium and create the list of monsters, items, etc yourself with your own photos, which made it more fun to complete, (most games have lists and what you haven't discovered yet and is left as question marks) but you can also use it with the tracker in your Sheikah Slate by selecting a photo and then it will start beeping which will intensify the closer you get to the item you want to find. You have to have the Camera ability and have to upgrade your sensor to Sensor+ for this to happen but it is done very easily. I mostly used this feature to help me find missing ingredients to the recipes I wanted to create or a weapon I wanted the use (mainly the elemental ones). I'd also like to mention that I really enjoyed the paraglider in this game and found myself jumping off cliffs quite frequently to get places which was very satisfying.

While having weapons break was actually never a big deal because there were always an abundance of weapons everywhere, that is instead what became a huge frustration for me; too many weapons and a limit of slots for carrying them. I always had to leave behind powerful weapons because I didn't have enough space or because once I got the Master Sword (which was early on for me), I stopped using all other powerful weapons because I wanted to save them up for the really difficult challenges. This is part of the reason why I avoided certain battles especially skeletal enemies that chased you down at night and the other part is because you don't gain experience or level from enemies because not how Zelda games work so there's very little incentive to seek out a battle unless you have to or enjoy doing it. Once you discard a weapon, they disappear and that's too bad because there's a weapon icon I used on my map for the chests with weapons I purposefully left behind to retrieve when I had the space.

What I found delightful was in Hanteno Village, you can buy yourself a house and you can upgrade it to be able to mount weapons, bows and shields for decoration but also for storing! I mean you can only store 3-4 of each but it was a nice bonus and the house also had a bed for you to fully restore your health instead of using your food and getting there or anywhere wasn't an issue if you started unlocking a lot of shrines as they became warping tools. I'm glad there wasn't a limit to random items/monster parts/ingredients you can pick up because I grabbed everything, except for the food you get from hunting beautiful animals because that's too sad (I know it's just a game - but there are plenty of recipes that don't require meat and you can just buy meat anyway).

My house with the best decorations

Sound and Music

The sound, effects, and music in this game are all really beautiful and I'm glad there was voice acting in this game but I'm torn between the fact that Link never spoke. On one side it makes sense because there's never been voice acting (save for the terrible disaster of a TV show back in 1989) before and giving him a voice now could potentially upset a lot of people and it's hard to picture what it would sound like because I'm sure everyone imagines it their own way but on the other hand, it really took away from emotional scenes, especially when Zelda is struggling with believing in herself and is feeling vulnerable and helpless and cries to Link but he just stares at her with no comforting words and sometimes not even comforting gestures. I think it would have helped if they simply gave him more actions or more facial expressions during those moments. Someone even pointed out that the Silent Princess flower which is part of the game's logo is there because it is a representation of Zelda herself. someone whom can only bloom out in the wild and not in captivity (as she mentions in one of the recovered memories).

Easter Eggs

While there are many references to other games in Breath of the Wild, I will only mention the dragons and the leviathans (if the latter is indeed a reference). In specific areas of the map there are three enormous and passive three dragons Dinraal, Farosh and Naydra (which are named after the three Goddesses Din, Farore and Nayru) and you can try shooting them for scales, horns or claws which can upgrade your armor or unlock a shrine by offering their parts in their respective springs of Wisdom, Power and Courage (like the tri-force). Not only are the dragons named after the three goddesses but so are the regions Faron, Eldin and Lanayru which happen to be the names of dragons in Skyward Sword.

A question that has been bothering me since I finished the game is: What did the Leviathans used to look like!? If you played the side-quest Leviathan Bones or if you just came across some giant bones in the Eldin, Hebra, and Gerudo regions then you probably know what I am talking about. I didn't take the pictures all at once so I didn't realize until later that all three bone structures are completely different so they must have been different creatures. I think the description said, and correct me if I am wrong, the all the creatures were whales, even though I find only the Hebra one looks like a whale with fins and wings.

Leviathans are described as sea creatures, and often depicted as dragons, serpents, whales or even crocodiles. It seems like the creators of Zelda always have giant whales in all of their games, Lord Jabu-Jabu from Ocarina of Time and Levias from Skyward Sword comes to mind. I actually found quite a few theories that show that maybe the bones belong to past Zelda whales which you will see in the photo below but I can't shake the fact that with the Eldin bones, you can see a leg and a foot sticking out in the back and with the Gerudo bones, the top and bottom parts of the mouth should be separated more and bigger because as is it now it looks more like a bird's beak.

I feel like they could have satiated my curiosity by simply have the researchers that prompt the quest, not only mention how they died (I believe all of them are correct - the drought was the desert in Gerudo, the ice age was the ice in Hebra and volcanic eruption from the volcano in the Eldin region) but to just mention or theorize what they used to be. They could have even made a Part 2 to the quest and you have to find some old archaeologist and you can find drawings all over his house. I hope that someday someone asks the creators and we get a straight answer because they must of had something in mind to be able to draw these.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/zelda/comments/avp3s3/about_the_leviathan_bones/

I'm thinking that it's intentional to not confirm who or what the leviathans are as to give people something to talk about or because they don't want to give a definitive answer because that would mean they would have to be clear where this game falls in the Zelda Timeline. I think they are hinting that it is at the very bottom because they refer to the bones as beings from ancient times and the word ancient comes up a lot in this game in particular, that there are ancient looking structures all over in ruins.

There are three splits to the Timeline after Ocarina of Time (confirmed in the Hyrule Historia book) and many are thinking that this game brings all three together somehow as there is evidence that shows that it can be part of each and then there's this quote: “Whether skyward bound, adrift in time, or steeped in the glowing embers of twilight…” apparently referencing Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, and Twilight Princess. Whatever the case of the timeline may be, we can at least confirm that it is after Ocarina of Time (before the split) because you see what looks like  the exact same Temple of Time with the Song of Time music playing in the background in the area where you first awaken and the Equestrian Riding Course in Central Hyrule are the ruins of Lon Lon Ranch (a video has shown the areas from both games down to the finest of details). Then again, also mentioned in Hyrule Historia, was that the creators put more focus on the gameplay and the story is more of an afterthought so maybe all the references are merely just fan-service.

Overall I really liked this game and would recommend that you at least try it for yourself. I originally included this into my Nintendo Switch blog but figured it got to be so long that it needed its own which is a testament to how big, immersive and well-thought out this game really is.

- Jo

Nintendo Switch Games


The Nintendo Switch has been out for over a year now so I've had a chance to play the games that interested me the most and you can find below. To be honest I'm not sure why so many people say that this console is so amazing where the Wii U has failed so badly. To me they are the same thing aside from the fact that the Wii U wasn't portable but I have my smaller 3DS for that and even then I'm kind of paranoid of carrying around such an expensive item to keep me entertained for a few moments (assuming you go out for a reason) when I can just use it at home when I have the time.

I think they should have kept the two screens separate (play on TV as well as on the device) because it opened the door to so many cooperative scenarios, for example, the immense amount of fun me and Mo had playing Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U because we each got our own screen without spending money on two games or two console which is what we would have to do to play together online or to splitting the screen which is what we would have to do if we played locally. This way we could go our separate ways on the screens but still be playing together so it was the best of both worlds. Why there weren't more games like that is beyond me because it solves the problem that most developers say they have with creating a multiplayer experience that will not diminish the gameplay.

I also saw it as a perfect way to make a Pokemon Snap 2 (original game from Nintendo 64) and use the screen on the device as the camera while also having the game on the TV. It even seems like they figured out that people do love taking photos in games because it's a feature in most of their new releases which actually sometimes play a bigger than just to share to friends as I will mention later for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. They even incorporated the taking pictures specifically of Pokemon in Pokemon Sun and Moon (3DS) so it's beyond me why a Pokemon Snap 2 isn't happening.

My final complaint of the Switch is that the controllers are insanely tiny, like made for children, especially if you separate them to play multiplayer. Edit: I was told there is a "pro" controller that I can use for the Switch but it is very expensive.

On the plus side, it seems like they are making more of an effort to make more multiplayer games which is what I like. Also I'm glad that the system graphics are better and the hardware is easier and more welcoming for third party developers because that means if I don't like any of the exclusives that the other systems offer, I might finally be able to stick to just one which is much more affordable.

Mario Odyssey

This game was the reason why I purchased the Switch and couldn't wait to get my hands on and start playing. They finally made another action 3D platform sandbox type game reminiscent of Mario 64. That must have been their intentions because you can purchase outfits in this game, one of which basically transforms you into 64-bit Mario and you can find a familiar secret courtyard while wearing this outfit and get a star instead of a moon.

The point of the game is to simply go around on multiple planets/worlds and to run around everywhere on them discovering ways to complete tasks, objectives, puzzles and collect moons which power up your ship to continue exploring more areas/worlds. The story is the usual kidnapped Princess Peach but this time for her wedding to Bowser. You are joined on this journey to find them with a sentient hat creature (I guess there's a race of hats) to you use to perform moves, such as throwing the hat to attack enemies, but my favorite move by far is the one that allows you to capture/become the enemy such as a Paragoomba, a Chain Chomp, a Bullet Bill, a Goomba, a Lakitu, a Cheep Cheep, a Wiggler, etc, you can also become animals such as a frog or a T-Rex (my favorite being the T-Rex because c'mon) or even random objects like a zipper, a tree, an RC car and most hilariously a piece of meat.

Another feature in this game that I enjoyed was collecting and wearing various outfits for Mario and collecting stickers or decorative items for your ship. It feels like they threw absolutely everything the had into this Mario game and I really enjoyed it.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

This game was developed by Ubisoft, the creators behind Rayman series of games as well as their spin-off Rabbids games which have sort of become their mascot. I absolutely love those series so having them incorporate Nintendo characters was amazing to me.

The game is a turn-based tactical RPG where you choose to team to solve a multitude of battles where you can position your players with limited amount of moves per turn and either attack or use special abilities. The area is set up so that you can strategically find areas of cover so as to protect you from harm or you can enter pipes to warp to different and further parts of the battlefield. Health can be regained, skills/stats and weapons can be purchased all to add various dynamics to the gameplay and therefore I never got bored of every new challenge.

The story is a bit confusing as you forget later on that in the game that it started with a human, I'm assuming from our world, that invented a device that can merge two things together. As she leaves the room (a delightfully geeky homage to Mario games room), a time machine or transportation machine that looks like a washing machine appears with a bunch of Rabbids in it and one of them grabs the device and starts using it. Through the chaos the machine starts back up and starts pulling all of the Rabbids and a few other items back inside and they end up in the Mushroom Kingdom and suck up the Mario gang inside as well and then they all end up elsewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom while we see the one Rabbid merging with the device itself and corrupts some of the other Rabbids.
Bowser of course discovers this Rabbid and wants to use him for his own means.

Although I think they could have gone with a simpler plot, the gameplay was extremely fun. I would have to say that my favorite part of the whole game was the hilarious opera song we get sung by a boss called the Phantom of the Bwahpera which is a scene closer to the end.

Snipperclips Plus

This game was sadly very short as it only took me and Mo 4 hours to complete even with the "Plus" game, an updated version that has 40 extra stages and new modes. There's no story but just a series of short levels of puzzles to solve with up to four friends or only two players in the campaign mode. Both characters you play are anthropomorphic rectangles with the bottoms rounded off and you can use them and parts of their bodies to cut certain shapes away from the other player by overlapping each other. There's a lot of thinking and problem-solving needed to figure out these challenges but if you mess around for fun long enough you can eventually come up with something that works and there are different ways to reach the end result.

Me and Mo never laughed so hard at our mistakes so this is a very fun game to play together and not get overly frustrated with each other. Some of the puzzles include fitting into other shapes, trying to keep liquid inside your shape and to carry it around without spilling too much or carrying a ball so you can dunk in a basketball hoop, trying to cut shapes to make yourselves pointy to bust balloons or to turn yourselves into platforms to jump on. I hope they make a sequel because I couldn't get enough of this refreshingly original game.

Kirby Star Allies

I was really pumped for this game because it reminded me of my favorite Kirby game, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards because of all of the transformations (but with many more choices). Now I got to play the whole story with my partner controlling one of the three companions you can have with you by throwing hearts at enemies whenever you want or by pre-selecting unlockable Kirby characters and have them with you before entering a new stage.

The game is a side-scrolling platformer and you go along the levels trying to figure out what elements or abilities are needed to solve puzzles along the way the move forward. What's new is being able to combine certain abilities together with your companions like fire with a sword for a fire sword to be able to cut and burn at the same time. For the most part me and Mo preferred the slight challenge of doing the levels alone without two extra AIs fighting off enemies (especially if you wanted to gain the enemy's ability and not kill them) or having them figure out a solution of a puzzle before you do (i.e. they see a canon you have to jump into so they go in and wait or they combine the appropriate abilities together if you have them). You can choose not to befriend enemies or you can select for them to leave afterward up until the game forces you to have four characters to open doors or to perform "Friend Actions" which is a special move you need to use for most of that stage.

The plot is a group is trying to perform a ritual that will give rise to some dark being but their first attempt fails and dark fragments explode infecting many worlds including Popstar. All in all I had a lot of fun playing this game and even went back into the levels where I missed a large button that you have to press in order to unlock an extra level to play. Once you beat the game you can also play some mini-games, which to me are pretty boring but I'm still glad it's an option, and you can fight bosses again at a higher difficulty, which is something I also don't enjoy doing but I'm glad it's there for others that will.

Let me know what you guys think of  all of the games I mentioned or if you have enjoyed playing any other games on the Nintendo Switch. I'm looking forward to the new Fire Emblem game (Three Houses) which premiered at E3 this year and I am still on the fence about Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu because the battle style is that of Pokemon Go so it over-simplifies and already easy game but I do like the fact that there's co-op in the game (just wish they doubled the Pokemon you are facing in battle if you are to do this) and that you can see the Pokemon on the screen rather then getting into a random encounter (although that does ruin the surprise a little). Leave me comments about what you are most excited to try!


- Jo

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Our Favorite Co-Operative Dungeon-Crawling Games

Moe and I have been playing video games together for a long time. With long RPGs, one plays the game and the other reads through the player’s guide, and with puzzle and adventure games we take turns. Yes there are party games such as Mario Party games but those obviously aren’t as fun with just two people. That’s why Moe and I do thorough searches for local co-operative console games, specifically of the dungeon crawler genre where you get to customize your character’s class (wizard, cleric, warrior, etc), loot treasure chests, go on quests and defeat hordes of enemies. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of games out there with our specific preference but we have ranked our 6 favorites below anyway.




6. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel: This game has a lot of bugs and lag but still has a sort of charm to it. If you want to spend hundreds of hours on side-quests, this is the game for you as it seems to be never-ending. Something that I just have to mention is we happened upon a random concert in the woods during one of our side-quests, which turned into the only cut-scene in the game, and you get to listen to a song created just for the game by Blind Guardian. What’s a nice touch is that you can hear NPC’s in town, such as a bard, sing the song and also hilariously hear some trolls attempting to sing the song as well.

5. Divinity: Original Sin (Enhanced Edition): The most interesting thing about this game is that it isn’t an action game but a turn-based strategy game. This makes exploring and grabbing loot a lot less stressful as enemies can’t chase you all around the area. I also love this game for letting you choose your dialogue which will affect your traits and personality and it includes your co-op partner in the conversation where they in turn can choose what to say. You can even have a conversation amongst yourselves! Lastly, the blacksmithing and crafting in this game is another fun way to spend the time in this game as you can collect books and scrolls to teach you recipes. I also normally avoid playing games that require split-screen for co-op but this game lets you run around together on one screen and only forces you into a split-screen if you wander off, which is fine by me. The only downside to this game was the amount of glitches and bugs we encountered. Once the sequel comes out on console, this might be bumped up further on our list as it seems very promising.

4. Bladur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II: This game is more of a therapeutic game of hacking and slashing and is pretty straightforward. There’s also a lot of loot to be had including a variety of rings, amulets, jewels, potions, armor, weapons, and, of course, gold coins but that also makes your weight capacity reach its limit quite often. Its best feature would probably be the character leveling customization as there are many abilities to unlock and choose from so you always end up with a different character. Also, I love that you can have your character jump in this game as that is usually something you cannot do in other games.

3. Dungeon Siege III: We enjoyed this game, apart from it being a very well-rounded game, mostly because of two small features; the fact that you can click on your side quests or main quests and have a light lead you to where you need to go and that they’ve added some choices for you to make that effect the direction of the game and the fate of some characters.

2. Gauntlet: Dark Legacy: This game has a lot of nostalgia for me but still holds up as an amazingly fun game. Not only do you have to push your way through to the end of the levels but every level has an item that can help you exploit your bosses weakness and deal a lot of damage, has a runestone that’s needed to unlock the final boss’ lair, and other little things such as traps to evade and Death, whom, if you don’t come prepared, can take away your health or experience points! Before you enter any level you can purchase food for health, keys to open doors, potions, weapon boosts or other items to aide you with the level which always keeps things interesting. You also have a little animal companion, which kind is determined by your class, which follows you around and gets bigger as you level up.

1. Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls: This game is really the only one of its kind that has this much of an in-depth storyline with amazing graphics, especially during the cut-scenes. There’s a large variety of classes in this game that I haven’t seen in other games such as Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor. Of course I played the former as you can have pets follow you around! The game never got boring even after the story was finished there was still much to do and many more levels to gain.

We love playing together with couch co-op games but we find they are getting harder and harder to come by. We do hope that developers will understand there still is a need for these games and hope that they are still around in the future. Let us know what you guys think of our choices and please feel free to recommend some titles to us!

- Mo & Jo

Time-Travel Shows

Recently, I have been in the mood for time-travel T.V. shows and, luckily, there happen to be quite a few on Netflix right now. Below are 4 of my favorites, aside from the obvious; Doctor Who (excluding most recent season), which you should watch right now!



Travelers

Season 1 has all 12 episodes available with Season 2 finished and to be picked up by Netflix around winter time. The premise of the show is there are teams of agents that are sent from the future to the past in order to change the current future which is a complete nightmare. They have to be careful to not change things too much so that they can still execute their plans based on the history and information they have gathered from the past so they transfer their consciousness to hosts in the past that they know are supposed to die, moments before they do, and continue to live the lives of their hosts.

This gives the show a cop-drama feel as these agents basically have to remain undercover while undergoing several missions that they receive from the future of events they are supposed to change and/or prevent. It is obvious during the course of the show that the future is bleak when the Travelers are enjoying the simple things to their new lives such as hamburgers and birds flying around in the sky. Traveler teams are typically made up of five people, an engineer, a historian, a tactician, a medic, and the team leader. I loved all of the main characters and the actors did a wonderful job.

I especially loved the relationship between Marcy and David and it was heading into a good direction but with the ending twist of Season 2 we will have to wait and see what will happen for Season 3 which should be airing in late 2018.

Timeless

This show is perfect if you are an American History buff and love sci-fi. Season 1 has 16 episodes available and even though the show was supposed to be cancelled afterward, there’s 10 more episodes for Season 2 already released, which is great because the last few minutes of the series was a major cliff hanger I did not expect.

The premise of the show is that an experimental time machine is stolen so the industry behind the project has chosen a history professor, someone that instantly knows significant dates and events in order to preserve the past, a soldier, in case they get into trouble and an engineer knowledgeable on how to pilot the prototype time machine that they use to chase after the culprit. Without giving too much away, the man who stole the time machine wants to purposefully change certain achievements for America in order to deal a massive blow to a secret American organization.

I loved how this show slightly explored possible paradoxes and butterfly effects and the toll it takes on our 3 main characters to not be able to intervene even when they know certain events end tragically for people they interact with in the past. I’m glad that they met certain famous people from the past, like Houdini, as it made for quite a fun and entertaining watch. Unfortunately since I wrote this particular blog, I have since found out that Timeless has been officially cancelled for good this time but I have a little bit of hope that if enough people are as disappointed as I am, then maybe the show will be picked up by another network as that seems to be a trend now.


Frequency

This show was cancelled after 13 episodes of Season 1 but fortunately we get a 3-mins video online of a satisfactory conclusion. Of course that makes the ending pretty rushed but we find out “who-done-it” in Season 1 which is really what I was waiting for anyway. The premise of the show is about a NYPD woman detective in 2016 that discovered a way to speak to her deceased father back in 1966 when he was still alive using his same ham radio. She then tells her father about his upcoming murder during an undercover sting operation, as he is also an NYPD detective, so he can change his fate. This change however brings on the death of the mother as she is no longer in the future.

The rest of the show is about finding the infamous serial killer that took her life, among other women’s’ lives as both father and daughter work together in different timelines to find out who the killer is and apprehend him. It’s a mystery with a lot of action and suspense every episode and is definitely worth the watch.

12 Monkeys

This show isn't on Netflix but there are a total of 4 Seasons that just wrapped up and the ending was satisfying. The premise of the show is that in the present time of 2043 there is barely anyone left alive on the planet as a deadly virus has wiped out seven billion humans back in 2017.

The main character Cole finds a facility with a team of scientists that have created a time machine that mean to change history by stopping the organization that started it all, the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Without giving away too much, the virus was only the beginning in order to fulfill the ultimate plan of the leader of this organization known as The Witness who is capable of seeing all of time itself. Cole meets a virologist, Cassie, that helps him travel through time as well as a "primary", Jennifer, my favorite character, who is exceptionally connected to time and therefore is able to help him navigate through it.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this series and their development as well as the direction of the show as all of the intricacies of time travel where well explained and certain moments that seemed unimportant or were left as is earlier on, all came together toward the end no matter how small the scene.

Those are the most recent ones I binged on Netflix or on another streaming service but I’m sure there’s more! Let us know what you think and comment below about your favorite time-travel shows!

- Jo


Introduction

Our retail website will soon be shutting down so we decided to carry over our blog and continue
doing reviews and to talk about the things we are so passionate about but also to keep in touch with he community we created when out store was operational. We love interacting with our customers and we are eager to make new friends that also share our interest. Staying up to date with the latest geeky trends is important to us and we will still would like to continue having a presence at conventions whether it be for business or for pleasure but writing this blog will be a way for us to stay connected so we hope you like what you read and we welcome the feedback.

You can also follow us as Mojoverse Sudbury on Facebook, as mojoverse.sudbury on Instagram, mojoversesudbu1 on Twitter and find our podcasts on iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

- Mo & Jo