Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector

Post by Patrick


A few months ago a Japanese iPhone game went viral and became a cult sensation. But the only way to play the game was in Japanese, but it wasn’t such a big deal because the game wasn’t really that complicated. I wouldn’t even necessarily call it a game. It’s kind of like a Tomodatchi, but then again, you’re not really raising a creature and nothing dies in the game. The whole aim of the game is to try and attract cats to your yard. You do that by placing toys, food, boxes, pots or anything really that the in-game shop sells. Rare cats also appear when you buy specific items. So for example a cat in a cowboy costume will appear if you place a cowboy hat in the yard. The game has no lose-state or win-state, it’s just a relaxing app to play around with throughout the day. The game developer finally released an English version of the game this past month. So be sure to check it out, in the App Store, it’s free!

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Destiny: The Taken King (or the game Destiny should have been)

Post by Patrick


A few months ago I reviewed Destiny and didn’t think much of it. I didn’t like it. It felt like it had potential but it was lacking a lot of content and felt like a glorified beta version of a game. When The Taken King was announced and I started reading more of what it had to offer I started feeling cautiously optimistic. Characters were supposed to be more fleshed out, Nolan North came in to take over from Peter Dinklage, they were balancing multiplayer, making the random loot drops more frequent, there would be more variety in missions and just more content in general.


After spending some time with The Taken King I have to say that I’m impressed by the changes Bungie have implemented. I wish this was the game they released originally. There’s more story, heart and character within the first 20 or so minutes of the Taken King than the entirety of Destiny 1.0. I still feel like there could be more content in the game, but this is a big step in the right direction. Bungie have done a good job implementing a lot of mysterious elements in the new area you unlock in the Taken King. The Dreadnaught. The Dreadnaught is interesting, but can get repetitive over time because it’s not really a huge area and it’s not really visually impressive like a planet can be. The thing is that even though the Dreadnaught isn’t as big as the other areas in the game it’s filled with secrets. You’ll find treasure chests scattered around the ship that require specific keys.

Bungie have done other things to keep people playing Destiny. One thing they’ve done is release quests that last 24 hours and that drop unique loot. To activate these quests there are a number of pre-requisites that are needed; usually these pre-requisites are unknown until these quests activate. Once the 24 hours are over, there’s no way to get these weapons until Bungie activates the quest again. This is a cool quest system to have but at the same time it kind of sucks for some of us because of the limited time these quests are active. It doesn’t tend to be a problem if you’re still in school but for someone who works (and is married) it takes a lot more effort to complete these quests so I end up missing a chunk of the game.


The Crucible, the PvP mode of Destiny is still a lot of fun. With the Taken King there are more maps to fight in, so there’s a lot more variety which keeps things fresh for longer. The only problem with the Crucible is that if you don’t own a good shotgun or a good sniper rifle, chances are you’re not going to do well in it. That should be a pre-requisite for even joining the Crucible. Bungie are planning on re-balancing the weapons so the shotguns aren’t as powerful as they are now, but that update still hasn’t gone up. Another positive addition to the Crucible is a quest-line. Basically different challenges you have to complete while fighting in the Crucible that reward you with experience points and loot.


The problem with Destiny right now is that the content is still limited. I’ve reached a point where I don’t need to play Destiny constantly. I play it a few times a week for an hour or two before switching over to something else. I’ve recently started playing it with friends and it’s a whole different experience than playing it with random people online. So that’s keeping things fresh for now. I originally would have never recommended Destiny to anyone, but with the addition of the Taken King that changes. The game still has issues, but it seems as though Bungie are listening to some of the criticisms the game has received and making the appropriate changes. Hopefully this lasts.

I highly recommend reading Kotaku’s investigation into what happened with the development of Destiny, as it sheds a lot of light on why Destiny launched with such lackluster content.


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The Legend Of Zelda Orchestra on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Post by Patrick

That’s a 74 piece orchestra.


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Star Wars Battlefront

Post by Patrick

Star Wars BF

Earlier this week EA and DICE opened the beta for Star Wars Battlefront to everyone who owns a PC, Xbox or PS4. I got to spend some time with it and at first I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It doesn’t help that the beta is pretty limited in what it has to offer. There are only two levels for competitive multiplayer and one level for single-player/co-op. It’s obvious that the developers are trying to make this game as accessible as possible, it’s aimed towards a casual audience and to the fans of the franchise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. It really depends on what the full game ends up offering its players. If the other game modes and maps are lackluster than this is going to be the kind of game that people play a lot of at first and gradually stop playing entirely after a month or two. But if the game modes and content are exciting and fun, then I think players will forgive the fact that it doesn’t take a lot of skill to be good at Battlefront.

It’s hard to judge the entire game on the beta, but if we were there are a couple of things that worry me. Largely the spawn points in the level based on Sullust were terrible and reminded me more about Call of Duty than it did Battlefield, which has a pretty decent spawn system. In Hoth you can end up being spawned right by, or behind an enemy and either get an easy kill or be killed which makes for a frustrating time. Another issue I have is that the different weapons we had access to didn’t really make a difference in a persons ability. Most of the time kills are based on who shoots first, no matter what weapon they have. Once you are under fire, you’re limited in what you can do to avoid getting killed, unless you’ve unlocked the jetpack which allows you to jump long distances. But you want the jetpack? You’ve got to play the game for quite some time to level up and to eventually unlock it (among other, better equipment).

Overall I enjoyed my brief time with Battlefront and I’ll be buying at launch. The game is beautiful, the menus are sleek, the music and sound effects incredible. The entire presentation of the game is just wonderful and spot-on. But then again, I’m a big fan of Star Wars. Battlefront won’t convert anyone into a Star Wars fan, but it’ll keep the fans of the franchise entertained. People who dislike or just don’t care for Star Wars will end up avoiding this game because there aren’t any interesting, new or innovative game-play features or mechanics. Most likely that won’t even matter because there are a lot of fans of the franchise that want to play a Star Wars game. Ultimately, this will be the kind of game I play when I take breaks from a game I spend a lot of time in, like Fallout 4 which will be released a week before Battlefront. I won’t be surprised if a lot of other people will be doing the same.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

Post by Patrick


Trying to write about Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is tricky because it’s such a massive game. I love a lot of things about the game, but there are also a lot of things that bother me about it. It’s a love/hate relationship.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an open world, stealth action game. It’s possible to play this game without having played the previous Metal Gear games, but you’ll obviously find some parts of the story confusing. Luckily there are a lot of Youtube videos that do a decent job explaining everything someone new to the franchise would need to know.

I’ll be avoiding specific story spoilers


I’m going to get right to it. Every Metal Gear Solid game has had their share of special moments. The Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for its cast of memorable villains and variety of interesting boss fights. MGSV isn’t very memorable in that regard. In the 65+ hours I’ve played, it had less than a handful of those moments. Gone are the cutscenes and in are the cassette tapes. Cutscenes in previous games were lengthy (especially in MGS4) but I believe cassette tapes are a step back. The game development had budget issues, so maybe this was a way to cut back and save some money? Either way, listening to cassette tapes can be annoying. One of Kojima’s inspirations for MGSV were tv shows, so credits appear before every mission revealing the cast of characters that will show up in that particular mission. So there isn’t an element of surprise when the games villain suddenly appears because you already knew he was going to be there. So story twists and narratives are kept to a minimum. A big aspect of the game is Mother Base. You can visit your base in-between missions but the problem is Mother Base is pretty horribly integrated into the game. There is no reason to go back to Mother Base except for a bunch of dumb target-practice related side-quests and to activate some cutscenes. It’s a dull place. On top of that the menus for Mother Base (where you can micromanage your troops and equipment crafting) are confusing and convoluted. Lastly (and if you follow me on Twitter this comes as no surprise) I find Quiet (a deadly sniper with paranormal powers) to be a dumb character. It’s a shame because she had the potential to be memorable. Instead Kojima designed a character purely for the sex appeal, to be eye candy. This wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but Kojima stressed that there would be a good reason to why she was barely dressed. The reason turned out to be stupid. It doesn’t help that while you’re in the helicopter in-between missions, Quiet is in the background “stretching” and sticking her butt in your face (not joking). While in cutscenes camera angles tend to focus on her chest, so it’s hard to ignore her.


But even with all those negatives, MGSV has a lot of positives. Previous games in the franchise were strictly stealth games, MGSV has opened that formula up a bit and you can go into a base guns blazing. Depending on your objectives some missions will punish a non-stealthy approach, you won’t automatically fail the mission, but it will make it much harder. Kojima created a great sandbox experience that features a ton of flexibility. Everyone will have a different experience based on how they play the game and on how the game reacts to their actions. For example in one mission my objective was to find a specific target and catch him before he left the mission area on helicopter. As I was doing it the first time around, I barely caught up with him before he was able to escape. When I tried the mission again, I got to the base before him and saw the helicopter crash while trying to land in-between some trees. This caused the target to hide in a tent while his guards investigated the surrounding area for enemies. Making it easy for me to sneak in behind the general and capturing him. The fact that the game has AI that can make mistakes like that and adapt to a situation like that is amazing.


Afghanistan and Africa feature huge maps and even though they’re quite empty, they’re pretty to look at. Technically this game is a marvel. It’s locked at 60fps and runs smoothly with no framerate issues. MGSV also features the best dog side-kick I’ve ever come across in a video game. Dogs in games tend to be dumb or just unnecessary. D-Dog on the other hand is incredible. The only downside is he makes the game kind of easy. If you bring him along on missions he’ll be able to pin-point every enemy and every hostage in your surrounding area, even if they’re in a building. Quiet can make the game really easy too. She can scout a base be able to pin-point enemies as well, the difference being that she can only pinpoint the ones that are visible to her. The advantage Quiet has over D-Dog is the ability to snipe enemies. The problem is enemies start to adapt to your play-style so you can’t milk one tactic over and over again. If you snipe or use Quiet to snipe, enemies will eventually start wearing helmets and body armor. They’ll have scouts patrol areas around bases and have their own snipers looking out for you. If you do most of your missions at night, guards will start wearing night-vision goggles. You use a lot of sleeping gas and smoke grenades? They’ll start wearing gas masks. The game features a crafting system that unlocks more equipment as you recruit better soldiers for Mother Base.


There are aspects of this game that could have been polished more and (like the story) that feel unfinished. The world, the freedom you have as a player and the amount of content in the game are aspects of this game that are just amazing. Is it the best game in the series? In terms of story, not at all, but in terms of gameplay? Definitely.


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Playstation Plus Games for September

Post by Patrick

Grow Home


Grow Home is an interesting game that looks like an HD version of a Playstation 1 game. You control a robot (named B.U.D.) exploring an open world and your goal is to grow and harvest something called a Star Plant, which looks like a giant beanstalk. To grow the Star Plant you have to find crystals that are scattered across the environment by climbing mountains and exploring your surroundings. The controls feel clunky and strange at first because you have to use L1 to grab with B.U.D.’s left hand and R1 to grab with his right hand, to climb you alternate pressing the triggers. The game features a great sense of scale and verticality that most big budget games fail to achieve. If you can get used to the controls, there’s a fun, relaxing game in Grow Home. It has little replay value, but it’s good while it lasts.

Super Time Force Ultra


Super Time Force Ultra is a fun, fast paced 2D shooter action game. Think of it as a mix between Mega Man and Metal Slug, but more colorful and featuring some pretty wacky characters. The Super Time Force squad feature a bunch of different characters and each using a specific weapon. Each gun has its pros and cons. For instance the sniper rifle can shoot through walls, but has a slow rate of fire. The games gimmick is that every level has a time-limit and your squad is able to control time. So if you die in a level, you can rewind time and redo the part. The stage select screen looks a lot like Mega Mans, but instead of choosing what boss you’ll be fighting, you get to choose what time period to go too. The game also features a big cast of characters you can unlock, each with their own unique weapon. Super Time Force has become one of my favorite indie games, I think the ability to control time is an interesting gimmick and creates some tense moments, I really enjoy the silly sense of humor and I like the time travel aspect.



So I’ve saved the best for last. I’ve known about Teslagrad since it was announced and released for the Wii U last year but I never got around to purchasing it because there were just too many other games to play. Teslagrad is a puzzle/platformer with a mix of metroidvania elements. You control an orphan who escapes the kings guard into an abandoned castle. The game mechanics revolve around magnetism and electricity. One of the biggest issues I have with the game is the difficulty curve. You could solve a puzzle easily in one room and when you move into the next, the difficulty will spike up and get incredibly challenging. There isn’t that gradual buildup in difficulty, it goes from easy to hard and back to easy. Luckily, the checkpoint system is very forgiving in the game. Whenever you enter a new room, the game saves. So when you fail, the game doesn’t pull you back too far and there aren’t any loading screens so it takes a second to load back up. The narrative is there but it’s kept at a minimum, so the focus is exploring, finding secrets and solving puzzles. If I were to compare this game to anything I suppose it would be Ori and the Blind Forest. So if you enjoyed that game, you should definitely check out Teslagrad.

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EVO 2015 Moments

Post by Patrick

I’m not really into fighting games, mostly Smash and some Killer Instinct but I do enjoy watching EVO. This video was uploaded yesterday, not to show the gaming and skill side of things, but it shows the participants and the emotions they go through.

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iOS Games to Play

Post by Patrick


Every once in a while I’ll make a small list of iOS games to recommend to people. These games aren’t always new, but are games that I generally really enjoy playing. I don’t like playing adventure or action games on my phone because the controls generally suck for the majority of them. All these games are skill based, so you get better the more you play them and all these games also have fantastic music. Because these games have no “endings” they can be played for a long period of time and the goal of all of them is to try and get a high score.

Super Hexagon

In Super Hexagon you control a little triangle rotating around the center of the screen avoiding walls that are collapsing inwards towards you. How well you do in the game is all based on how fast your reaction time is. The music is composed by well-known chip tune artist, Chipzel. This game is known for its difficulty and the longest I’ve stayed alive is for about 70 seconds in the easiest difficulty, but its fast pace, music and generally intensity of the game keeps me playing.


The premise of Helix is simple (like all the other games on this list), fly around the enemies to wipe them out. Some enemies are easy to wipe out as they just float around, but you’ll come across enemies that will fly right at you, which makes things a lot more enjoyable. Getting high scores in Helix isn’t incredibly hard, but requires a ton of patience.


Canabalt is one of the first games I ever played on an iPhone way back when, and it’s one of those games that hasn’t lost its charm over time. If you don’t know what it is, Canabalt is an infinite runner. Meaning it doesn’t end until you fall off a platform and die. Canabalt 2.0, a surprise update released last year added new game modes, new characters, new music and widescreen support. The game is simple enough to play, just tap on the screen to jump, the longer you touch the screen the longer your jump.

Eliss Infinity

Eliss is another game that was a huge hit when the iPhone was still a new thing. Eliss Infinity takes the same formula and adds more to it. The main chunk of this game is spent in the new Infinity mode, but if you want to play the older version of the game which was split up into levels, you can still do that. The game features (slightly) updated visuals and some great music. The learning curve for this game is pretty high, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a ton of fun.

Desert Golfing

Desert Golfing is probably the most ridiculous game on this list. It’s a never-ending game of golf in the desert. It sounds silly, it is silly, but it’s fun and addictive.

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Chrono Trigger – Retrospective Review

Post by Patrick

With the recent trend of remasters and remakes I thought I would highlight games that have aged well enough to still be played and feel as though it was just released yesterday. The first game that popped into my head was Chrono Trigger.

Chrono Trigger was first released on March 11, 1995 for the Super Nintendo. The game was developed by a superstar team that included Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy), Yuji Horii (Dragon Quest) and artist Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball & Dragon Quest). Yasunori Mitsuda (Xenogears, Chrono Cross) composed the music for the most part, but Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) also contributed once Mitsuda fell ill.

Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game that featured some revolutionary and innovative features that have since become the norm in most modern role playing games. Enemy encounters weren’t random. Enemies are visible on the map and are avoidable. Unlike previous role-playing games that had a separate battle screen when you encountered enemies, fighting in Chrono Trigger is quick and happens directly on the map. And when you’re fighting, the game features “Active Time Battle” which means that enemies won’t wait for you to attack before attacking themselves which makes battles more hectic, intense and fun. Another welcome addition to the battle mechanics is the ability for characters to team up and combine moves together to perform some devastating attacks. My favorite aspect of Chrono Trigger is the ability to travel through time. This ability allows you to visit the same areas at different time periods, so as you complete side-quests in the past you can see how your actions affect the future. Chrono Trigger also has 15 different endings (including a bad one). Playing through the game multiple times was made easy through a new mode called New Game+. In this new mode, special abilities, your characters’ stats and equipment carried over from your previous game. This allowed you to beat the game at a much faster pace, encouraging players to try to view the other endings without making it feel like a chore.

The game still looks good after all these years partly due to the detailed pixel art. Good 2D visuals tend to age much better than good 3D visuals. Each time period in Chrono Trigger has their own unique color pallet and theme, so you’ll easily be able to distinguish each time period easily and areas don’t have that “same-y” feel. The characters all look great as well, which is rare for a JRPG, there always tends to be one or two badly designed characters. Each character has an interesting backstory and distinctive personalities. As you travel through time learning more about each character, you see how they developed into who they are. The villain, Lavos is another unique aspect of the game. Lavos is a terrifying, huge parasitic monster. Villains in JRPG’s usually tend to talk a lot about their motives, reasons for why they’re trying to achieve their end-goal. Lavos is special in the sense that as a creature, it doesn’t speak. There is no reasoning with Lavos. It has one purpose in life and that is to drain planets of their energy before moving onto the next one.

Since the Super Nintendo release of Chrono Trigger, the game has been re-released on the Playstation, Nintendo DS, the Wii’s Virtual Console, iOS and Android. The best version to play is the Nintendo DS version which includes two extra dungeons, the animated cut-scenes, an improved translation and a second screen, that shows the map of the area you’re in and allows you to place menu shortcuts. Amazon still sells the Nintendo DS version for a pretty decent price. But if you don’t own a Nintendo DS or a 3DS, the smartphone version of the game is based on the DS version of Chrono Trigger. You’ll just be stuck with touch controls and no second screen, but on the plus side it’s only $10 which is a steal for a game like Chrono Trigger. The Playstation version can be downloaded if you own a Vita, but I would avoid this version because it (for some odd reason) adds load-times, there’s also an issue with slowdown during battles and an inconsistent sound quality.

Chrono Trigger is one of those titles that every person who enjoys video games should play. The same way every movie fan should watch the Godfather at least once or anyone who loves music should listen to the Beatles. Chrono Trigger will stick with you, I first played the game almost 20 years ago and I never forgot it. There are scenes and moments in the game that will stick with you: the courtroom scene, the jail break, the first time you visit the future. Are early memorable examples. I carry Chrono Trigger around with with my 3DS at all times, sometimes I’ll start a new game but not to necessarily beat it, but just to just have a taste of the game and meet the characters all over again. This was the game ultimately changed my life by introducing me to role-playing games. The characters, the art, the music, all near perfection.


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Super Mario Maker – Overview

Post by Patrick

I wasn’t really interested in Super Mario Maker when it was first announced, but every announcement since has gotten me more and more interested, and right about now, I want it. I’d even pre-order the special edition version if it was available for the North American market.

This recent video from IGN reveals some new interesting information. Not everything will be available to the player when you first start the game. You have to spend 5 minutes each day, creating and working on a level for more items and tools to become accessible. Which makes sense to me. It lets the player learn the basics of level design and lets the player get accustomed with all the objects and tools. On top of that it would be a lot less overwhelming if you gradually unlocked everything you can use.

Besides that tidbit, the game will also feature two challenge modes. The 100 Mario Challenge and 10 Mario Challenge. In 100 Mario Challenge you get 100 lives to complete a collection of courses (chosen randomly off the internet) in a row. 10 Mario Challenge is similar, except you have 10 lives to complete a random collection of courses.

Super Mario Maker will be released on September 11.

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