Secret of Evermore Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Part 2 of 4

Check out Part 1 Secret of Mana Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Here

Hi, and welcome to part 2 of a 4 part series covering Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, Secret of Mana III, and Legend of Mana. In today’s review we will take a look at Secret of Evermore which is what North America got as a sequel to Secret of Mana, instead of Secret of Mana III.

NOTE: While maybe not technically correct to refer to it as a sequel, because they had completely different development teams, and stand-alone stories and worlds, the gameplay, as well as the name, are so similar that most squaresoft fans (myself included) hold the opinion that this is (more or less) part of the mana series. Squaresoft however has pointed out numerous times that this is not part of the “mana” franchise.

If you’re wondering what happened to Secret of Mana II, well that is what North Americans know as Secret of Mana – that’s right there was actually another game in the series before Secret of Mana, but like many JRPGs it remained only in Japan. I have not played it, but I have played the entire rest of the series, including Secret of Mana III which also never left Japan, but which has been translated by the fans.

For whatever reason, Squaresoft didn’t think Secret of Mana III would sell well in North America, so they brought over Secret of Evermore instead. More accurately, they didn’t “bring it over” but instead actually “developed” the game in America and geared it towards a “western” audience (supposedly). In fact, this game never got released in Japanese. It is perhaps the only North American “exclusive” (though I believe its also in Europe too) JRPG developed by Squaresoft.

If you look at the credits, you will see many English sounding names. See the details from wikipedia below.

Designer(s) Alan Weiss
George Sinfield
Artist(s) Daniel Dociu
Beau Folsom
Writer(s) George Sinfield
Paul Mazurek
Composer(s) Jeremy Soule

Actually a Japanese version was planned to release after the American release but was cancelled because they didn’t think it’d appeal to the audiences over there.

Still, this game does play very much like a JRPG. Actually I might have liked it a little bit more than Secret of Mana though not as much as Secret of Mana III. Critics may not agree, as the game is widely considered inferior to other Squaresoft RPGs.

Title: Secret of Evermore

Publisher: Squaresoft

Release Date: 1995

Platform: Super Nintendo SNES

Genre: Action RPG

Where to Buy: Amazon has Secret of Evermore for SNES ranging from $30 to $45 which is a good buy for a rare retro Squaresoft JRPG

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 3/5 

Overall: 54 / 80 68% D+ “Average Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 This is a game about a boy and his dog. It plays very similar to Secret of Mana with Real-Time battles and the same Weapon Ring and Magic Ring from the original game. Unlike Secret of Mana, this game only features two characters, a boy and his dog. They travel throughout many different places and times from history lending the game a sorta educational feeling, though blending it with elements of fantasy as well. It also features an alchemy system.

Gameplay: 10/10  Gameplay consists of taking control of both the boy and his shape-shifting dog as they travel through time from the stone age, ancient egypt, and even into the future. As mentioned one of the key mechanics is an extensive alchemy system that allows you to craft your own consumable items as well as key items needed to progress the story. Magic was also reliant on alchemy ingredients which were often scarce in supply. This is an often criticized feature of the game’s alchemy system. I didn’t mind as much though, since when I play a game, I explore every nook and cranny of every room, dungeon, city, etc. I enjoyed the alchemy system even if it was flawed to a degree. In fact, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the game as much without said alchemy feature. Then again I enjoy similar games such as Kamidori Alchemist Master, Students of Mana Khemia, and the Atelier series, where you ‘grind’ and search for ingredients for various alchemy recipes. In fact in the end, from a gameplay perspective: this game resembles a mashup of Secret of Mana, Chronotrigger, and Atelier Iris.

Story; 6/10 Like most western RPGs, story is not as strong as what is commonly found in most JRPG games – I feel this is where most of the criticism for Secret of Evermore comes into play. There are a few plot holes, and the story just seems to jump around without much of an overarching plot other than trying to return to your own timeline and the adventurous ‘scamp’ like nature of a boy and his dog, painted against a wild fantasy pseudo historical setting. Though the bare bones for some continuity between worlds exists it is tied only together loosely by a malfunctioning time machine and evil robot invaders.

Characters: 5/10 Likewise the character development is another weak point for most western developed RPG games. There’s really only two characters in this game, a boy, and his dog. Though there are numerous NPCs, they don’t connect with or endear themselves to the audience. The concept of a shape shifting dog was very fun, but the boy feels very flat and unappealing as a main hero leaving the player little reason to care about what happens throughout the story.

Graphics: 8/10 While most critics applaud the graphics in this game for being very detailed and more realistic than most other RPGs, I can’t help but miss the more “anime” feeling graphics of Secret of Mana. And while Secret of Evermore is a very lush and visually stunning game in it’s own right, I miss the more “cutesy” feeling and bright color palettes of other Square RPGs.

Music: 5/10 – The music in Secret of Evermore is composed by Jeremy Soule. This was his first ever videogame soundtrack. He has gone on to work on numerous other RPG soundtracks including Skyrim, Icewind Dale, and Guild Wars just to name a few. Unfortunately, being inexperienced, the soundtrack in Secret of Evermore is often very weak. He dared to be different though, so I’ll give him credit for that. Most of the soundtrack consists of a lot of dead noise and ambient sounds instead of the bright and colorful music found in most JRPGs. Ultimately though, using such a minimalistic tactic makes the background music do just that, fade into the background. It is no where near as memorable as other Squaresoft soundtracks.

Replay Value: 2/10 This, like most other 90s games, is a linear story. It’s also much shorter than other squaresoft RPG – to be fair, I have read that a lot of the game was cut due to cartridge size limitations. Still it is a fun, unique, little RPG that appeals to anyone who loves themes of time travel, or just simply anyone who loves their dogs :).

Overall: 54 / 80 68% D+ “Average Game For Girls”

Secret of Evermore Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Part 2 of 4 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

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Kawaii Cat Cafe JRPG, 7th Dragon, Heads West with Over 96 Ways to Customize the Appearance of Your Hero

7th Dragon until now, has remained a title only available in Japan, but that is about to change with 7th Dragon III Code VFD on the Nintendo 3DS.

This quirky little Time Travel RPG sees us in a not too distant future which is at war with powerful dragons. In order to save the world from destruction, you must travel to the ancient city of Atlantis, future capital of Eden, and present day Tokyo.

The artwork features chibi super-deformed, bobble head, big head, tiny body style character designs, giving everything a very cute anime feeling. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean. Very Kawaii!:

With the cute art work, and almost endless ways to customize your hero, this game immediately sparks my radar. I admit, I’ve not heard of 7th Dragon until now. I’m somewhat surprised to see Sega’s name attached to this project, but then again, not really no, because they do own Atlus who is well known for “risky” games like this which “cater to Otaku” – I wonder why they wouldn’t brand this title under their Atlus flagship since it has a lot of loyal fans already which they could then leverage to get more attention for this cute little game.

From the very brief teaser, it looks like it will be an emotionally engaging story as well – We see a character sick in a hospital bed for example.

Most intriguingly of all Destructoid reports that “And as if that weren’t bizarre enough, the role-playing game involves rescuing stray cats from dungeons and sheltering them in a cat café.” And if you don’t know what a Cat Cafe is, you can check out my post for 10 Cat Cafe you can visit in North America.

The whole “Cat Cafe” concept makes the game even more Kawaii and immediately appealing to me (and likely also to my readers). I’m becoming more and more intrigued by this little game and can’t wait to check it out.

The game will release on July 2016 and is available for preorder on Amazon here: Preorder 7th Dragon III Code VFD

 

Those who click the amazon link above can read even more of the game’s features – Incredibly enough, it even features a dating sim element. Given that the series originally was created and handled by Imageepoch who made Fate/Extra which plays INSANELY SIMILAR to Persona 3 and 4… I can imagine that THIS dungeon crawling RPG will also be very similar to Fate/Extra and Persona 3 and 4.

The Japanese voice cast has been left in tact, and not only do you customize your heroes’ appearances, but also their voices, with more than 40 voices to choose from!

This game is Kawaii to the Max! Very Otaku Pandering, and very very very cute and quirky. Personally, I can’t wait! BRING ON THE CAT CAFE DUNGEON CRAWLING DRESSUP JRPG! This game is right up my alley!

Kawaii Cat Cafe JRPG, 7th Dragon, Heads West with Over 96 Ways to Customize the Appearance of Your Hero was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Rumor: Mother 3 Getting Official English Release in 2016

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Mother 3 – known to gamers in the west as “Earthbound” – Lately, there have been a lot of rumors online, including some started by people from within Nintendo which indicate that we MAY be getting an official English release of the game now a decade after it’s original release in Japan.

Even if the rumors prove false, you can play Mother 3 in English already right now today. You can always purchase the Japanese cart and patch it with the free 100% completed English fan translation which you can get here. If you need help on where to buy the cart for the game, check out Play-Asia who specializes in Japanese import games. There’s also some available that are already “pre-patched” which saves you the trouble of patching it yourself on sites like ebay and amazon here for about $25

But let’s hope that the rumors are true since this is what fans really want from Nintendo, an “official” translation. In fact, the creator of the fan-translation patch has offered his full translation to Nintendo for absolutely free. Though this was years ago now. However, stranger things have happened, Nintendo of America decided to bring out Mother 1 (rebranded as Earthbound Beginnings) just last year which sold better than expected and is much older than Mother 3.  And with the success of the re-release of Earthbound on Wii U, it seems quite profitable (and plausible)  for Nintendo to give fans what they want.

If you’ve never played an Earthbound (or Mother) game, they are very similar to Undertale with lots of customization and freedom, such as specifying your favorite food, favorite color, etc which all get used throughout various parts of the game, as well as a cute, quirky feeling but also very deep and moving story. The charm of the 2nd game, known as Earthbound to western audiences, made it a cult classic among Super Nintendo owners, and it definitely differentiated itself from any other 90s RPG in a very good way.

You can check out a gameplay trailer of Mother 3 to show off the fan translation patch in the video below:

 

Check out some of the sources below to read more about the Mother 3 Rumors Online:

http://gamerant.com/mother-3-nintendo-114/

http://dorkshelf.com/2016/02/04/mother-3-could-finally-be-coming-to-north-america/

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-02-04-mother-3-will-finally-get-western-release-report

http://kotaku.com/the-mother-3-rumors-are-getting-intense-1757072418

We’re Not Telling You Mother 3 Is Being Released In English

http://www.toonzone.net/2016/02/were-not-telling-you-mother-3-is-being-released-in-english/embed/#?secret=CBlf6wZf2C

 

Rumor: Mother 3 Getting Official English Release in 2016 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Secret of Mana Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Part 1 of 4

Secret of Mana is a series of real-time adventure RPGs from the 1990s. The “first” installment, which we’re reviewing today, is Secret of Mana for the SNES. This game was actually the 2nd in the Secret of Mana series, but was the first one to make it overseas. There’s also Secret of Mana 3 (Sometimes mistakenly referred to as Secret of Mana 2) which we also never got in the USA (but which has been fan translated), Secret of Evermore – which is a completely different, but equally fun game, which is what we got in America instead of Secret of Mana 3, and Legend of Mana on the PS1.

I say this review is part 1 of 4 because I plan to review the other installments in the series in the near future. I’ve never played the original “first” game (from Japan), so that one will not be included in the series of reviews. It may be available somewhere fan translated, I’ve just never sought it out. I have however, played the rest of the series, including Secret of Mana 3 which is among my favorites in the series. But we’ll start this series of reviews off with good old Secret of Mana, because it was the “gateway” for most english speaking players into this series.

Title: Secret of Mana

Platform: Super Nintendo

Release Date: 1993

Genre: Action RPG

Where to Buy: Amazon has the original SNES cartridge for as low as $67.00 – This is a good buy, as this game is a classic and sure to retain or increase in value among collectors. Just take a look at some of our other retro reviews around the site, similar RPGs from the 90s are going for upwards of $160 a piece. Secret of Mana is a bit more obscure than say, Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, but it’s still an amazing little game.

However, if you are not a collector, I would recommend the mobile edition of this game which features a completely new translation. The original game had many bugs and a translation from Japanese to English which took only 30 days to complete. As a result, much of the original story was cut from the English version – Whether that was due to a hastily translated script and pressure to meet holiday deadlines from Nintendo, or as a result of the limitations of the cartridge format, the fact is, that the IOS and Android versions provide a much better experience – and cost a lot less than the actual Super Nintendo cartridge too.

You can get Secret of Mana on IOS here for just $7.99

And Android here also for $7.99

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 3/5 

Overall: 48 / 70 69% D+ “Average Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 10/10 The most unique thing about these games is the weapon “wheel” in which you can quickly switch between different weapons. Every character in the party can use every weapon in the game, in sort of a class-less system. If you try to equip the same weapon on 2 different characters though, you will only switch their weapons instead.

The weapons can be upgraded with weapon orbs found in various dungeons. Also by using a weapon, it will begin to level up and unlock new special abilities.

Since all the combat is real-time (much like Zelda, Ys, and other Action Adventure RPGs) you have to be fast thinking and take into account the movements of your enemy as well as use the terrain to your advantage to kite your monster around the map.

The game features an AI system as well in which you can decide if your party members should engage enemies directly or stay in the back to minimize their damage.

There’s also a magic “wheel” but the main hero does not have access to this; however, the other party members can use offensive or healing magic to aid the hero. You cycle through and select spells in the same way that you cycle through and select weapons. And similar to the weapons, magic also levels up the more you use it.

Some spells will be specific only to certain characters, and others will be shared by both of the magic users in the game.

Aside from the unique wheel like mechanism for choosing spells and weapons, the game plays much like other action JRPG of the 90s. You control a party of 3 heroes, and complete quests, level up, go into dungeons, and progress through the storyline.

Story: 7/10 As I mentioned above, the original SNES translation (which to be fair, is the version I’m reviewing) suffered from time constraints and/or physical limitations of the technology of the time. While we did get the game just a few weeks after the Japanese release, we really missed out on a lot of the storyline and character development.

The premise of the story is very interesting. It tells of an ancient war fought with magic which resulted almost in the end of the world. However, a hero emerged and using the Legendary Mana Sword was able to bring peace back to the world. To prevent a similar war from occuring again, the mana seeds were sealed and scattered across the earth. Powerful guardians were charged with protecting each mana seed.

Foreshadowing tells us however that the peace will not last, and a time skip brings us to our main hero as he is playing outside the village with his friends. An accident occurs in which you get separated from your friends and must find your way home but your path home is blocked by thick weeds. Conveniently, there’s a sword sticking up out of the ground, so you figure you’ll just use that to cut your way through. However, as you pick up the sword, a voice speaks to you telling you that you are the chosen one (similar to the legend of the sword in the stone) and that you now posses the legendary Mana Sword. As you make your way home, you see there appear to be monsters closer to the village than usual, so you get to try out your new sword in some real combat practice.  When you finally make it back home, the villagers blame you for the appearance of the monsters and banish you from the village.

As the story unfolds, you learn of the plan to release the mana seeds and restore the ancient technology from the first war. Knowing that this will again anger the gods, you become like the hero from the first war, destined to once again seal away the power of mana from the hands of man.

The story is actually pretty well written with some interesting surprises, and was very dark for a game of the 90s including suicide, spiritual possession, and themes of war and sorcery.

Characters: 3/10 But in the end it felt like there was more that could have been told here. Perhaps as a result of things lost in the original translation. I especially felt that the characters themselves were flat and never really connected with them in the way that I would in most other games. This made the game ultimately less enjoyable and less immersive than I would’ve liked. I should have been devastated when a major plot thread occurs which effects one of the playable characters and a love interest, but ultimately, I was just not moved or able to feel as much emotion for as grave as the plot had become, because I just didn’t care that much about any of the characters. And I am not a cold person, there are many games which have brought me to tears. This just isn’t one of them. To be fair, I’ve not played the improved new translation from the mobile games. I suspect a lot of what was cut from the script may have filled in this void in character depth and may be restored in the new mobile version.

Graphics: 8/10 I really liked how colorful and bright this game world is. Most of it features outdoor environments with lush green fields, bright blue rivers, and the character sprites are also very brightly colored.

Music: 10/10 Another iconic 90s Squaresoft soundtrack. Very memorable tracks which helped to set the mood throughout the game.

Voice Acting – N/A Not Voiced.

Replay Value: 2/10 This is a completely linear game with little to no replay value, aside from the fact that it is an enjoyable little rpg that you may wish to revisit down the road.

Overall: 48 / 70 69% D+ “Average Game for Girls”

Secret of Mana Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Part 1 of 4 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Chrono Trigger Squaresoft Retro Super Nintendo SNES RPG Videogame Review

I’m sure the majority of my readers have played this one, but it’s a great game and deserves to be included on our site. I still remember when Chrono Trigger first came out, I was still a child then, and my mother had gone with me to the game store where I was browsing through the games. Nowadays, you can find places that sell used games on every corner, but it was just the one store in my area Since I seemed to be taking awhile, the clerk offered help and my mom told him that I needed a game that would be challenging and last me a long time because I used to beat my games very quickly. The clerk recommended Chrono Trigger because of the high replay value with 13 multiple endings and some challenging boss fights, and the rest is history 🙂 It quickly became one of my favorite and most memorable RPG experiences from my childhood, and still remains a fun game even to this day.

Title: Chrono Trigger

Genre: RPG

Platform: Super Nintendo

Publisher: Squaresoft

Where to Buy: Since the original SNES version is a collector’s edition, and an immensely popular game even to this day, the prices are about $100 – as you can see on Amazon here. However, there are many cheaper alternatives. The game was later re-released on numerous other (newer) consoles including a version for Playstation 1 which you can get on Amazon for under $18 at this link here. There’s also a version for Nintendo DS for about $25 on Amazon here – This version even has extra scenes which help to tie it into the sequel Chrono Cross which are not found in any other versions of the game. I believe there’s even digital editions of these games available in the PSN store and Nintendo’s Eshop for those who prefer digital versions. But there is still no PC version for Steam yet. However the cheapest way to get the game is if you are an Iphone or Ipad user. You can pick the game up for just $9.99 in the app store. And Android Users can also get the game in the Google Play store for $9.99 – Though I suspect many android users had rather just install the rom on their mobile device.

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 3/5 

Overall: 72 / 80 90% A-. “Excellent Game for Girls!

Concept: 10/10 The concept of Chrono Trigger revolves around time travel (hence the name, duh lol) to both the future and past as well as back and forth to the present. You play the role of a young boy whose friend is a “tinkerer” always making new inventions. There’s a big faire coming up and she has a “teleporter” that she’s put on exhibit, however, her invention malfunctions and creates a time gate, teleporting people not only from one place to another, but one time to another as well! – What begins as a quest to save their friend who is lost in the time gate, becomes a quest to save the entire world. You see many interesting locale from futuristic cities or prehistoric villages. The characters are also equally as diverse, including some anthropomorphic in nature such as a cavegirl/catgirl and a frog prince. The biggest draw to chrono trigger is the freedom of choice and multiple endings. It was perhaps one of the first games to have multiple endings, at least such a huge number of them, which greatly added to the replay value.

Gameplay: 10/10 Gameplay is the highlight of this title. Everything is so fun, and believe it or not, but almost everything you do matters in this game. I remember one scene in which you can have a drinking contest and eat another man’s chicken, if you eat his chicken you will later hear about it when you’re accused of a crime. Little touches like this, and the freedom it gives to the player to travel back and forth between eras and encourages exploration really made it stand out from any other RPGs of the 90s.

Story: 7/10 The long winding path between different eras in time, is a rewarding experience, with tons of character development and excitement. It has a very epic feeling to it. However, it can at times, be bogged down by the sheer number of side quests and running back and forth which does little but drag out the game.

Characters: 9/10 I’m not the biggest fan of the designs for the characters, I know he’s an immensely popular mangaka, but I just don’t like his art style. — But looking past the outside appearances of the characters, you find a lot of heart and a story that very much relies on character interaction and character development to move the plot. The characters are not as diverse nor as many as in the sequel, Chrono Cross, however, they are all exceptionally well written and endearing. You really come to care about your little group of heroes and become invested into what happens to them as you play the game.

Graphics: 8/10 Graphically speaking, Chrono Trigger was one of the most detailed and best looking SNES games of its time. The character designs are not my cup of tea, but that just boils down to personal tastes. The character designs are instantly recognizeable, and for most people who are a fan of his other work such as dragon quest and dragon ball z, this really helped to sell the title. Some of the newer versions of the game even have new animated cutscenes added in to key scenes to further draw the player into the world of Chrono Trigger

Music: 10/10 Chrono Trigger has one of the best soundtracks to come off of an SNES cartridge. It’s also highly memorable and equally appropriate for the scenes in the game. Music can be used to help tell a story or create emotions in the audience playing the game, and that’s exactly what this soundtrack accomplishes.

Voice Acting: N/A – Not Voiced

Replay Value: 10/10 – Not only due to the plethora of multiple endings, but also the large number of sidequests which can be easily missed on the first playthrough. Also the ability to start a new game and keep your character stats and most equipment in place really encourages users to go back through to try to find all the extra endings or hidden sidequests.

Overall: 72 / 80 90% A-. “Excellent Game for Girls!

Chrono Trigger Squaresoft Retro Super Nintendo SNES RPG Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates?

By now you’ve already heard that Fire Emblem Fates is getting censored for it’s American release due to suggestive themes such as Gay Conversion, Rape, and Heavy Petting. The Petting feature is the latest in a long list of features and scenes to be removed for a Western release later next month. Nintendo of America stands by their decision to cut such items, stating that it was necessary to do so for localization.

Regardless on where you stand on this issue, my question is, will this significantly impact your decision to purchase this game? The fan translation begun nearly a year ago and from what I understand, the translation is complete and available (with a little effort and searching and digging) for those who seek to play the game as the creators intended, without censorship. How you go about getting said fan translation – I will leave that to your imagination. You could for example, support the game creators by buying the original Japanese language Nintendo cartridge for your 3DS and patching it with the translation — or you could use less ethical means which I won’t discuss here, and never indicated that I support. – It’s not just as simple as buying the English version and applying the patch to that version to restore the lost content, as the patch will only work on the Japanese version. However, if you choose to import the Japanese version you may be locked out of DLC content available only in the Eshop.

So you’re missing out either way. In the end, if you really like the franchise and wish to support Nintendo you could even buy both versions of the game. But ultimately, for most western gamers, the changes are small enough that they likely won’t be missed. Still for a small but vocal group of core fans, or Otaku (anime obsessed fans – such as myself) these changes are enough to be upset over. Many Otaku buy Fire Emblem solely because of the relationship aspects which differentiate the series from the slew of other strategy games available. By censoring and “Westernizing” the series, Nintendo runs the risk of deterring the fans who would want to buy such a game in the first place. Perhaps they are not satisfied with such a small market share and strategically removing the content to make it “less” Japanese and more appealing to “mainstream” gamers.

While I will miss the Skinship, I will probably still buy the western release. I don’t feel it’s enough of a significant change to boycott the series or Nintendo over. I am disappointed by Nintendo’s decision and wonder if anything will be added in replace of the Petting minigame, such as perhaps talking to, or giving gifts to your comrades, etc, as the Petting game offered bonuses and made a significant difference in the upcoming battles. It will be a shame to lose those stat bonuses just because of some controversial undertones within the minigame.

Skinship (or Petting as all of the media outlets are calling it) is not a new concept, not if you’re familiar with dating sim games – and Fire Emblem definitely has a strong Dating Sim component tied into each game. Skinship exists in other games in this genre – While the mainstream media outlets are loving to compare it to Pokemon Amie (possibly because it’s one of the only examples of Skinship in a Western Release) – and saying that it would be “creepy” or “odd” to pet a “human” character – this is nothing new for these types of games despite how “weird” or “sexualized” the media is portraying this mini game to be. For example, Tokimeki Memorial also has a Skinship feature, as does Ensemble Stars both are Otome Dating Sim games. Princess Maker 4 also comes to mind as having Skinship. The problem is, none of these games ever got “localized” – perhaps the Skinship feature is partly to blame as America is so up tight about anything with even a hint of sexuality – Meanwhile it’s fine for their kids to play games with blood, gore, violence, or foul language, but if anything is even slightly perverse, it riles up a frenzy in the media.

As other media outlets have pointed out, Nintendo’s entire marketing strategy has been on providing family entertainment for small children. While Fire Emblem is likely to be rated T for Teen, that won’t stop parents from buying it for their young kids anyways. So I do understand just why Nintendo has made so many changes. I may not like it, but I get it, it’s all about business at the end of the day and Nintendo’s business is all about very small children.

I am pretty concerned for what the future will held for SMT X FE #, another Nintendo release in the Fire Emblem franchise. While Atlus is focusing on the localization of that title, it’s even more “Japanese” than Fire Emblem Fates since SMT X FE # deals with the Idol Singing Subculture that proliferates Japanese pop culture. I worry that Nintendo of America may “Strong-arm” Atlus into making changes which will dumb down all the “Otaku Pandering” elements from the final release.

In case you haven’t heard news of these recent changes check out some of the major media outlets covering the story below for more info.

Fire Emblem Fates‘ Changes: The Censorship Is America’s Fault  iDigitalTimes.comJan 31, 2016

Nintendo Speaks on Fire Emblem Fates Censorship Nintendo EnthusiastJan 22, 2016

And then weigh in with a comment below and let us know which version you’ll be buying, or maybe you won’t be buying any of them. Do you feel Nintendo is making a smart business move to capture more audiences, or hurting themselves by isolating current fans of the Fire Emblem franchise?

Will You Miss The Skinship Feature in Fire Emblem Fates? was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft Mobile Game Review Cardgame Like Magic The Gathering

I was a long-time World of Warcraft player. I quit about 4 years ago now, but still have fond memories of the game. Blizzard has a unique sense of humor and charm with their NPC’s and pop culture references sprinkled into their MMO and strong story and character development. Now, those same characters come to life again in the form of a collectible card game.

For fans of the MMORPG, Hearthstone brings back a lot of fun memories of your adventures, and gives you something to do to pass time when you can’t be playing your favorite MMO. For others, who have never played WoW before, fear not as no prior knowledge of the game world is neccessary to enjoy this deck building game.

In fact, if you like other board games and card games, such as Yugioh, Magic the Gathering, or the Pokemon trading card game, you will absolutely love Hearthstone as it lets you build your own decks and collect powerful cards. There’s a lot of strategy involved also in how you play each match against other players in real time making it one of the best trading card games for mobile devices.

Title: Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft

Publisher: Blizzard

Platform: IOS, Android, or PC

Genre: Collectible Card Game / Deck Building Game

Go here to play it on your PC: us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/

Get it on IOS here: https://itunes.apple.com/…

Grab it for Android here: https://play.google.com…

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 2/5 

Overall: 60 / 80 75% C “Good Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 10/10 When the game starts you are given a random hero and some random cards. I started my journey as Jaina Proudmore, the mage. You can play either against computerized opponents, or connect online to play against other players such as yourself. You can either play casually or join “ranked” games – I always choose ranked myself, but it’s a matter of preference. If playing a ranked game, you gain and lose points which at the end of the “season” award various loot. Also when playing ranked, you are matched to an opponent who has approximately the same number of wins vs losses as yourself.

Regardless of which format you choose, more wins with your hero will unlock new class specific cards which you can add to your deck up until level 10. After level 10 you no longer earn cards, but instead every 3rd win will score you some gold which can be used to purchase new cards or enter the arena. (more on that in a bit.) Also, regardless of which style of game you choose, the first time you beat an opponent of one of the other 8 classes you will unlock that hero and be able to begin to level them and unlock their class cards as well.

The arena is a special type of match in which you’re presented a choice of 3 different random heroes, and given a pool of random cards from which to build your deck. It works similar to the (optional) deck builder helper when assembling your decks outside of the arena as well. You start by selecting some class specific cards, then low cost cards, high cost cards, and then it will look and for example, if you need more minions or more spells, etc it will present those cards which it deems to be best to help fill out your deck.

After putting together your arena deck, you go head to head with another player and the gameplay is the same as any other game mode method. The twist is that, after losing for three times, you will be kicked from the arena. You do not keep any of the cards in your deck. Instead, as you fight in the arena, each win will significantly increase your prize pool. At the end, when you’ve been defeated 3 times, you get to collect all of your winnings, these may be things like gold, card packs, crafting materials (used to make new cards), etc.

The card game itself plays very similar to Magic the Gathering. You have a mana pool, but unlike MTG, the mana pool in Hearthstone starts at 1 and increases by 1 each turn. Cards cost varying amounts of mana to put into play. There are “minion” cards which are the main card type, they have a score for attack and also a score for life points. When you attack another player’s minions, your minion will lose life points equal to their minion’s attack power, and their minion will lose life points equal to your minion’s attack power.

Some minions have special abilities such as Taunt which prevents you from attacking any other minions or heroes until that minion is destroyed, or Silence which can remove abilities from cards (such as removing Taunt for example), or Windfury which will allow a minion to attack twice per turn, or Charge which will allow a minion to attack on the same turn that it comes into play. Like MTG, minions have “summoning sickness” and cannot attack on the same turn they come into play, unless they have this ability.

In addition to minion cards, there are also spell and ability cards which can be played also for mana which can for example deal damage to minions or heroes, or heal your minions or your hero, or allow you to draw more cards, or grant abilities (like taunt, or +2 attack etc) to a minion.

The last card type that I’ll touch on, is “Secret” cards, they are played and set to the side until the conditional requirements of the card are met. Only the one who plays the card knows what these conditions are, hence the name “secret” as your opponent will unknowingly activate whatever effect the card has. For example a card may say “whenever a minion dies, put two copies of it into your hand” or “Whenever your hero is attacked, heal your hero by 10 instead”.

The game starts both players with 30 life points for their hero character. Each hero also has a special hero power which can be activated by spending mana. You can also equip your hero with equipment cards to raise the hero’s defense or grant it attack power to let it directly attack heroes and minions on the battlefield.

The object of the game is to lower your opponent’s life points to zero.

Graphics: 5/10 – The graphics are just kinda “okay” – It was neat to see my favorite characters like Thrall and Murlocs and so on. But when I compare to other mobile card games, I’m not blown away by the art, the card images are static, and the attack animations are basically the same for each card, except for spell effects. And let’s face it, it’s not very cute or “kawaii”. Overall I’m just not a fan of the WoW art style. And there are much more “pretty” collectible card games out there with dazzling special effects, animated cards, etc.

Music: 10/10 I super love the music in this game. I think it may be directly from WoW, but it’s been years since I played and can’t recall. It has a very “epic” feeling. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of “Lord of the Ring’s” music from the hit films. It just has a very “grand” and “adventurous” tone to it. It’s great!

Voice Acting 8/10 I love that each card has a battle cry when it enters the battle field, and most ARE taken from WoW and I recognized these little one liners right away. They used the same voice cast and it’s great. I deducted a few points simply because the voice acting is not really a significant portion of the game (such as other games like Lunar, or Dandelion etc where there’s hours and hours of voice acting.) The voice acting is a nice touch though and much appreciated.

Story: 0/10 – There is no story in this game, It doesn’t need one, but my scoring system requires I grade on this criteria, so that’s a zero.

Characters 10/10 – Although there is no story, there are still very iconic characters in this game, such as Thrall, Jaina, the Murlocs, Leper Gnomes, etc. If you are a fan of the lore and world crafted around the WoW franchise, then you will love seeing all of your favorite characters in this game. If you aren’t familiar with WoW, the game is still every bit as fun, but you won’t appreciate the characters as it’s very fan-centric in that regard.

Replay Value: 10/10 – It’s a different game each time you play because of the strategy involved. There’s also the desire to keep playing to earn gold to enter the arena or buy new cards. There’s a lot of strategy, into building your decks, if you get bored, you just pick a new hero and make a new deck and everything feels new again. I don’t think it’s possible to get tired of this game lol.

Overall: 60 / 80 75% C “Good Game for Girls” Note, if you discount the fact there’s no story mode in the game, then it becomes 60/70 or 86% or “Very Good Game for Girls” – it would have even made our top 10 list with that score at time of this writing – and that score more accurately reflects just how fun and addictive this game is. However, for my readers, story is the main thing that they expect in a game so I think it’s important to point out this game lacks in that area. Still really fun and highly recommended.

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft Mobile Game Review Cardgame Like Magic The Gathering was originally published on Geeky Sweetie