Recently Played #2.

The not very regular series of posts in which I detail what I’m currently playing, but haven’t played enough to review in full yet!

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

I am completely blown away by this game so far, both in terms of graphical appearance and gameplay. A great story, interesting characters and a very satisfying combat system. If you have a new 3DS I think this is a must own for the system. The soundtrack is also excellent so far, especially through headphones.

FarCry Primal

FarCry Primal

There are some times when I long for more games that don’t involve running around shooting things with guns, as the market can often seem overrun with lots of that. Enter FarCry Primal, set before guns were invented, in the great and lush outdoors, the game is strangely immersive and utterly stunning on PC. (I may have invested in a 970, more on that in a later blog post) It’s a very visceral experience, and one which is holding my attention quite nicely at the moment.

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Review: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.

Happy Home Designer

 

Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is not a pure Animal Crossing game, but more of a spin off game…it’s useful to remember this. It sees you become an employee of “Nook’s Homes” an interior/exterior designer if you will. Animals will appear outside the shop each day and it’s your job to pick one customer and design their dream home. They may specify that you must include certain items (most characters unlock more furniture which is then added to your library for use in any home thereafter) but for the most part, it’s up to you. And you literally choose everything, from how the exterior looks, the floor plan, the flooring, lamps, windows and sofas etc. You unlock more design options as you go through the game, and can also design buildings in the town centre too.

Amiibo Cards

Want to design the home of your favourite New Leaf villager? You can leave it to pot luck and hope they show up outside the shop, or you can try your luck at getting them in Amiibo cards packs. The cards can be scanned on “new” 3DS/XL consoles, or via an Amiibo reader and the villager or character will appear onscreen! The Amiibo cards are the only way to unlock the option to design the houses of the shop keepers and other non villagers in the game. (Saharah for example) These exclusives are denoted by the fact that their cards are glittery. Scanning the villager Amiibo figure also reaps a little reward too!

Overall the controls are excellently done and the game strangely addictive, if a little repetitive. You aren’t rewarded for matching items so it can feel a little empty at times, as the villagers are always happy regardless of the type of interior you design for them. However the online feature that allows players from around the world to rate your work makes up for this a little. Limited in scope, but done well, this is a welcome addition to the Animal Crossing franchise.

Villager Amiibo

General Scoring

Gameplay. 8/10  Immensely fun, but a little repetitive after a while.
Graphics. 8/10  Great use of 3D and incredibly cute characters!
Sound. 7/10  Limited due to game type really.
Music. 8/10  Again limited, but the music stays with me after I save and quit the game.
Story. 6/10  Not much of a story, but there doesn’t need to be with the nature of this game.

Wildcards

Value for money 7/10  A little limited in comparison with other Animal Crossing games.
Network Features 8/10  I really enjoy the rating system and being able to look at other player’s designs.
Controls 10/10  Mapped really well, picking up and playing for the first time was easy.
Addictiveness 9/10  Relaxed gaming at it’s best.
 Innovation 9/10  Excellent use of Amiibo. Both the cards and the figure can be scanned in, in an innovative and immersive way.

Total Score = 80%

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New Nintendo 3DS XL : Animal Crossing Special Edition.

3DS XL Box

After regretting not purchasing the limited edition Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS, I was not going to pass up the chance to purchase the limited edition all new Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer version of the console!

3DS XL Faceplate

The package included the game as a download, and the console itself is a thing of beauty, with furniture pieces on the front and a mini house scene on the back.

New 3DS XL Inside

The “new” 3DS XL also has those lovely coloured buttons, and the extra grey nub thing (to give it, it’s technical name) and can read both Amiibo cards and figures. (More on those in my Happy Home Designer review)

3DS Data Transfer

Doing the system transfer was a little scary, but I followed the official guide which can be found by clicking here. And it was a pretty easy process in the end. An AC adapter is not included, so you’ll need to purchase seperately…Hmm Nintendo…Hmm!

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Review: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is such a charming puzzle platformer, that you almost forget how strange it is to play a game from this genre in which the characters can’t jump. Essentially, it’s 70+ stages, in each of which you are presented with Escher like floating dioramas which you must navigate, collecting items, sneaking past or tackling enemies, and using the gamepad to adjust the camera to ensure you’ve explored everything on offer from every angle.

The puzzles occasionally become very smart indeed, and I feel the only real annoyance whilst playing is that the camera control is tied to the gamepad’s gyro sensor, thus the camera can get a little crazy at the slightest of wrist movement. Overall the game is fun, gorgeous to look at, and the stages are different enough to keep things fresh and compelling.

General Scoring

Gameplay. 9/10  Easy to learn, but very compelling in a “just one more level” way.
Graphics. 9/10  Classic Mario styling, in HD.
Sound. 7/10  Some great sound effects.
Music. 8/10  Simple but compliments the game.
Story. 7/10  Predictable, but fun.

Wildcards

Value for money 8/10  A lot in the box for a puzzle game.
Difficulty. 7/10  Occasionally very tricky.
Pick up & play. 9/10  Easy to learn, difficult to master 100% completion.
Variety. 7/10  Pleasantly surprised by the variety of stages on offer.
Art style. 8/10  If you’re a fan of Mario, this is for you.

Total score: 79%

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What I got for Christmas 2014.

I hope you all enjoyed the festivities this year, I was lucky enough to get some fun things that I thought I would share with you all. Let me know what you received gaming or non gaming wise!

Captain Toad

 

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a game I have been waiting to play on my Wii U for months, and it has lived up to my anticipatory excitement. It’s a platform puzzler that uses the gamepad and some excellent mechanics that have you navigating levels with toad, to collect bits and bobs and solve puzzles to reveal hidden sections. Look out for more on this soon.

 

X Men

 

I collect all the Marvel films on Blu Ray, and especially love the X-Men ones so was very happy to receive X-Men Days of Future Past. I know people are divided on this one, but I enjoyed it, especially the introduction of more characters from the universe.

 

 

Lego

 

Lego Female Scientists! This contains 3 units to build, all female models, a paleotologist, astronomer and a chemist, the idea is to get young girls thinking about careers in Science, it comes with a booklet detailing the professions too. I just love it.

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