Sonic Mania PC Game Review

Title: Sonic Mania

Genre: Platform Game

Publisher: Sega

Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Where to Get: I got Sonic Mania and a buncha other Sonic games in a humble bundle, but if that bundle is over you can find the games on amazon or steam.

Release Date: 2017

Overview: Sonic Mania is one of the newest Sonic Games, however, it pays homage to 90s oldschool Sonic and is very well received by 30+ year old Sonic fans, as well as a whole new generation of gamers.

Gameplay: 10/10 – Sonic is back in a new game, with levels re-designed from the original Sonic games as well as all new levels created for Sonic Mania. You can play as Sonic, Tails, or several “new” characters first appearing in Knuckles Chaotix or Arcade exclusive sonic games. To play the game as other characters you will have to select the characters at the starting screen – you cannot switch characters within the game.

The levels are fun and fast and action packed. You run, jump, spin, and dash through the levels. There are many different paths in each level and many hidden objects, including entrances to bonus stages to capture chaos diamonds. Overall the gameplay is fun and full of nostalgia

Story: 1/10 Sonic isn’t a story-centric game, and it doesn’t really need a story. Timeline wise, it is said to take place after the events in Sonic and Knuckles. Lack of story does not hurt this game, but if you’re looking for a game with a great story, this is not it.

Characters: 5/10 – I enjoyed seeing Sonic and his friends return in an all new game, and it definitely brought back nostalgia and my childhood, but without a story, there’s no real personality or character development here. Once again though, games like this do not really need character development to be central to the player’s enjoyment of the game.

Graphics: 7/10 – The graphics are done in a bright colorful oldschool pixel style. This is not for everyone. Clearly this game is wanting to appeal to old school gamers who grew up with the original Sonic. Me? I liked it. But your opinion may be different. I did see some anti-aliasing and rough edges as to be expected in pixel style games, mostly especially when playing in fullscreen mode. There are different filters and options you can enable in settings to try to minimize this jagged-edginess.

Music: 10/10 – The music is definitely old school too and a great homage to the Sega Genesis Sonic games, which always had some pretty fun music.

Replay Value: 10/10 – The replay value is high because there are different characters that you can play as, each with their own unique abilities that make taking different paths through the same levels very unique experiences. No two characters play exactly alike. There are also different gameplay modes such as time attack and multiplayer competitions.

Nostalgia: 10/10 – This game set out to be a tribute game to the 90’s Sonic games, and it succeeds at this in an unprecedented way, welcoming back into the fold Sega fans who felt disappointed with the past several Sonic games.

Geeky: 5/5 – Nostalgia and pixel graphics and great soundtrack that 90s kids will love, make Sonic Mania chock full of nostalgia.

Sweetie: 2/5 – Lack of story and lack of character dialogue make this a game that is definitely outside the norm of what I normally enjoy or normally review here. However I think the nostalgia and cute/colorful graphics and anthropomorphic animal characters will appeal to most of my readers, who are already probably familiar with the Sonic franchise.

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

Sonic Mania PC Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Advertisements

Review Get Fit with Walk it Out Konami Wii Game

I recently began revamping my lifestyle to try to be healthier. To that end, as part of this healthier lifestyle, I began to play some of my old wii games that encourage you to get up off the couch and get active while playing the games. My favorite “weight loss” game has always been Konami’s “Walk it Out” for the original Wii. Yes, Wii U can play wii games in case you’re wondering. However, the switch cannot.

It is worth mentioning that while Wii games can be beneficial to help motivate you to want to lose weight, they are probably not as effective or strenuous as other forms of exercise. I make no claims that playing these games will help you lose a significant amount of weight, but if you’re like me (and millions of other Americans) who absolutely hate exercising to the point where you have one of those folding exercise bikes when you’re short on space on the wall and haven’t used it in the 2 years it’s been hanging there, well then it’s one of those “better than nothing” things. Sure, you can go join a gym, or buy expensive exercise machines and equipment, but if you can’t motivate yourself to actually work out, then you’re not any better off. I can motivate myself to play Walk It Out because it’s actually FUN. – Now you may think exercising and going to the gym, or playing sports is fun – and that’s cool – but that’s you, and you have to remember not everyone has the same idea of what “fun” is. So I ask you to please respect that different people look at fitness in different ways.

Here’s how I’m using Walk It Out to help lose the weight.

I don’t have a Wii (or Wii U) (yet) at the Boyfriend’s house where I spend my weekends. So for me, this is only something I do at home, Monday – Friday.

I aim for 10,000 steps. The game calculates this for you if you input your height, weight, gender, age, etc.

I use the balance board, but you don’t have to! You can use the DDR dance pad (wayyyy more challenging lol – Trust me, I’ve tried this), or the nunchuck and wii-mote – kinda “meh” and not as fun to me – but everyone has different preferences. Some people place their treadmill infront of their TV and slip the wii-mote into their pocket. . – You can check out Consumers Advocate for reviews on treadmills.

For me currently, 10,000 steps takes about 45 minutes, burns about 500 calories, and works out to just under or just over 3 miles.

I chose 10,000 because multiple sites I’ve researched have said 10,000 steps a day, every day is enough to lose 1 lb a week.

After about a month of 10,000 steps a day, 5 days a week, I found I was not getting as tired/sweaty/winded etc so I’m now up to about 12,000 steps a day, with ultimate goal to increase to 20,000 steps a day hopefully by end of the summer.

In addition to getting my “steps” each day I also began a low carb diet, currently limiting myself to 25 or fewer carbs a day and trying to ensure the majority of those carbs come from veggies, nuts, berries, and other healthy choices. – I skipped “induction” and included nuts and veggies and berries though from the start.

I began my journey about 6 weeks ago at 232 lbs. My last weigh in 2 weeks ago (about 4 weeks into the program) was 227 lbs. A total of 5 lbs lost within those 4 weeks.  I will probably weigh myself again some time this week and expect to be at 225 or less lbs. I’ve been losing 1-2 lbs a week, just as I anticipated based on my steps and diet.

This is slow, and yes, there are better exercises and activities than this, but the fact is, it’s still “effective” – if you don’t care “how long” it takes to lose the weight – I’m prepared that it’ll take me 2 years for example if I want to get to 120-130. – Which is what I weighed like 12 years ago in college. I didn’t gain this weight overnight, I’m not going to lose it overnight. It’s just the way it is. But the scales are moving down each time I weigh myself – I try not to obsess about the scale, so I only weigh myself every other week. In the next 10-20 weeks I expect to be back under 200 lbs for the first time in several years.

I’m currently not doing any other exercise other than Walk-It-Out for (a minimum of) 10,000 steps, 5 days a week on the wii balance board. I am restricting my carb intake which could also be playing a role in the weight loss so I cannot make a claim as to if Walk it Out would be effective without a healthy diet as well.

All I know for sure is that Walk It Out, plus a low carb diet, has led to 1-2 lbs of weight loss, consistently, every week, for the past month and a half.

And I know that I don’t mind playing Walk It Out, whereas, if I were going to the gym or playing a sport I’d hate it, dread it, and eventually stop doing it, probably sooner than later. Because to me, working out, or playing sports, etc is not fun. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of fun, it might be exaggerating, but it’s kinda like torture to me lol.

And that’s probably because I’m in such bad shape. But Walk It Out has been effective also at helping with that. And I’ll go ahead and claim/assume that this is from Walk It Out and not from the diet, but I’ve already noticed a big change in my stamina.

Prior to 2 months ago, I’d get winded going up 2 flights of stairs at the boyfriend’s apartment to do laundry, and when I first started Walk It Out, I felt like I was dying after 10,000 steps – but I didn’t stop/slow down, I successfully reached 10,000 steps without any kind of rest or break each day, right from the get go. – Not a huge accomplishment if you’re fit and active – but a significant accomplishment if like me, you’re mostly sedentary and in terrible shape.

But now, I can do 12,000, maybe even 15,000 steps before I get tired/winded. I can go up and down the stairs while carrying the laundry without gasping/panting for breath after setting the basket down. I noticed that the other night, as we folded laundry together. I’m like hey, I’m not gasping for breath, I’m able to breathe/talk/etc.

So in as little as a month, making 2 small changes:

1.) Playing Walk It Out 5 days a week for a minimum of 10,000 steps, using the balance board

2.) Restricting Carbs to 25 or less per day

I’ve lost 5 lbs, and become more “fit” and able to do normal chores/walking etc without getting shortness of breath or rapid heart beat like before.

I also suffer from PCOS which makes it more difficult to lose weight due to insulin resistance and other factors. So if you’re relatively healthy, you might lose even more weight than this while playing Walk It Out. But as someone with PCOS, it has a number of side effects, from infertility to weight gain, to fatigue, pain in the sides/ovaries, and skin/hair problems, just to name a few. Probably the most concerning of these side effects is fertility. It’s also well documented that being obese also impacts a women’s fertility. in fact, that’s why I began this work out and diet plan. I am 37 years old and I want to have kids some day. And for me at this age, that time is running out. I know it will take me a year to lost 50 lbs (guessing because 52 weeks in a year, with a lb of weight loss a week). That will drop me down to about 170-180… Still overweight for my height/age. I should be around 130-140 from what I’ve read – which is why it’ll probably take about 2 years to reach that goal. 52 weeks x 1 b per week = 50 lbs a year, so in 2 years I’d be about 127. In 2 years I’ll also be 39….

Losing weight will do 2 things for me – 1.) help relieve some of the PCOS symptoms, 2.) help increase my fertility – even in women who do not have PCOS – they say losing as little as 10-15% of your body weight can help increase fertility. For me, 15% would mean I’d only need to lost 34 lbs… which would take about 8 and a half months. (At a rate of 1 lb a week).

So although my end goal may be getting back down to 120 – 130, which is going to take about 24 months, there are many smaller goals I can aim for along the way. The first goal will be to drop below 200. With an estimated 25 lbs to go, that goal will take about 6 months. The next goal is a combined total of 34 lbs of weight loss, which I should achieve 2-3 months after my first goal. From there, it’s all about setting different attainable goals for myself. For example, I might decide I want to reach 160 lbs next, another 6 months after the 2nd goal, and then only need to lose another 30 lbs to reach the 4th and final goal.

Since it will take me a relatively long time to achieve my goals, it’s important to me to have an activity I can enjoy and one I can stick with throughout the process. For me, that activity is Walk It Out.

But enough about me and my goals, let’s dive into actually talking about the game and I’ll tell you just why I love Walk It Out more than any other fitness game.

Title: Walk It Out

Platform: Wii (will work also on Wii U)

Genre: Music Game / Fitness Game / Walking Simulator / City Building Game

Publisher: Konami

Price and Where to Get:

Why Do I Love Walk It Out So Much / How is Walk it Out Different from Other Fitness Games:

I think Walk It Out is different for the following reasons:

1.) It’s actually a game – I would not say the same of Wii Fit for example which is just a series of exercises and “mini games” – Wii Fit fails at taking your mind off the fact that you’re exercising. Walk It Out makes it so exercising is secondary to the gameplay.

2.) It is a persistent world – You can see your world developing and evolving each day. You can interact with objects in your world. The world changes and evolves based on your actions.

3.) If you like pop music and 80s/90s/very early 2k music, you’ll love the music in Walk It Out. – I tried looking to see if there’s a Japanese Import version of the game with Japanese music tracks but I couldn’t find one – does anyone know anything about this? I think it’d be fun/interesting especially since I enjoy JPop music. I find it hard to believe Konami would only make a game for the European / North American market – because they don’t seem to give a damn about this market. But all I’ve ever seen is the North American version “Walk it Out” (the version I have) – and another version for Europe called “Walk to the Beat” I think there’s only 2-3 songs that are different/unique for each of those versions, not worth importing the Euro version just for those songs. – But Is suspect if a version of this game does exist in Japan it probably has all Jpop music.

4.) It’s a city building simulation – Do you like city building games? This game lets you build a city while you work out – pretty much the only game I can think of that does this.

5.) It has gradual progression – there are over 300 songs to unlock, and there are numerous things to unlock for your city – thousands of things in fact – and there are different areas/paths to unlock. It also has mini games, although a month in and I haven’t discovered any yet. It takes awhile to earn enough points to unlock everything. – To me, this is a GOOD thing – once everything is unlocked it probably isn’t as fun/exciting. But you can always start a new save file and start over unlocking everything again. If you unlocked things too fast the game wouldn’t feel as “rewarding” – it strikes a good balance of rewarding you, plus giving you new things to strive for.

6.) It’s easy/comfortable even for someone obese and in very bad physical condition. This is not true of other fitness games such as Dance Dance Revolution which is significantly more challenging/tiring for beginners. Walk It Out is low impact and simple and does not require great speed, dexterity, skill, coordination, flexibility, etc, making it a perfect game for anyone of any age to just pick up and play.

But What Is Walk It Out, exactly?

Gameplay: 10/10 Walk it Out is a fitness music/rhythm game from Konami, the creators of Dance Dance Revolution. The gameplay is simple! In the top left of the screen you see a beat meter, just walk in time with the beat. If you are rhythmically challenged, don’t worry, don’t focus too much on listening to the music, instead use this beat meter in the top left as a visual guide to time your footsteps. If you’re still having trouble you can adjust the speed and difficulty settings as needed.

As you’re walking, music will begin playing. There are new tracks to unlock – over 300 of them to be exact, and if you like pop music from the 80s, 90s, and early 2ks, you should enjoy most of these tracks.

The object is to time your steps perfectly for the best score. Points can be used to unlock new music tracks or to build your city by opening capsules around the island. Things that you can find might include trees, street lights, cars, buildings, and more. As you build up your city, you’ll see the changes in the town and in the people. It becomes much more lively.

The game can be played with a number of different controller options including the wii balance board, DDR dance pad, or wii-mote and nunchuck.

There’s even a multi-player mode where 2 people can Walk it Out together!

Is Walk It Out An Effective Workout?

Yes, I feel Walk It Out is effective at helping with weight loss, especially in addition to a healthy diet. Using Walk It Out every Monday through Friday for the past 6 weeks has led to me losing 5 lbs and becoming more active, fit, and healthy. I feel like I have more energy and stamina, even if it’s a little improvement, it’s still a welcome improvement, that overtime will continue to provide growing benefits.

It’s simple, effective, and fun – I don’t feel like I’m working out.

The game also tracks many stats for you, such as calories burned, steps taken, miles walked, playtime, etc for each play session. As well as showing you how much of the island you have left to discover.

It has a lot of various settings you can configure such as selecting or restricting certain songs, setting goals in terms of steps, miles, or play time, and allowing you to adjust the speed or points to fine tune your difficulty settings.

The uniqueness of the game, the fun factor, multiplayer, and peripheral support, as well as ease of use and low entry barriers, make this game my favorite for helping to drop the pounds.

However, there are some areas where gameplay could be improved…

If there is ever a “Walk It Out 2” here are a list of features I’d love to see:

1.) More advanced avatar creation – or at least importing our mii’s. The avatars in walk it out are pretty fugly. And although you can choose between a male or female avatar, and male or female personal trainer, and pick some colors from a limited small pallet, that’s where customization ends. In the future they could add hairs, clothes, and other avatar dress up items to the unlockable capsules which would add an additional element to the game.

2.) More Islands – once you complete an island, it’d be nice to have a whole new island to play in, with different styles of buildings, backgrounds, and environments to explore, to keep things exciting

3.) A more “vibrant” world – either through online play, or the internal clock, it’d be nice to have a more “lively” world, like in Animal Crossing how different things happen on different days, weather patterns, holidays, events, etc.

4.) Ability to use your own music – or at least buy new tracks, similar to most other dancing games that release songs via DLC (downloadable content).

5.) Online Play – to walk with friends online in addition to the great local multiplayer support – perhaps also for the switch, seeing support for up to 4 or even 6 people to walk on one screen together in local play.

6.) Built in scale – I use wii fit to measure myself, but I don’t use Wii fit for the games and exercises very often – it’d be nice to just be able to weigh myself right in Walk It Out.

I think just these few little additions would really add to the immersion and fun of an already super fun game.

Story: 0/10 – Nope no story at all – not that it needs one.

Characters: 2/10 – there are characters if you count selecting your trainer and “customizing” (although extremely limitedly) your avatar, but without a story, the characters are empty shells. The characters that move into your city / walk around on your screen are also just empty shells – they could have done something similar to animal crossing or harvest moon here, which is why it’s so disappointing.

Graphics: 7/10 – I’m not sure what to score this honestly… the characters are fugly, the interface is average at best, but the actual world/environment are pretty good given that this is a retro game now.

Music: 10/10 – If you like pop music from the past 3 decades, you’ll enjoy the music.

Voice Acting:5/10 – The male trainer isn’t too bad – the female trainer sounds like she’s about 8 years old and has way too much enthusiasm and that weird “chipmunk” sound that a lot of early 90s anime female voice actresses seemed to have back in the day. – Which I assume is supposed to sound cute, but really just grates on the nerves. I’ve never played with the female trainer because her voice is so annoying honestly.

Replay Value: 10/10 – The gradual progression of the game will keep you coming back to unlock new things on the island.

Overall: 44/70 63%

Note: if you don’t count the story and characters, you have a score of 42/50 or 84 percent which is much closer to how much I “enjoy” this game 😊

Update: My weigh in today was 222 lbs, a loss of 4.9 lbs since last weigh in (15 days ago) . I continue to consistently lose 1 to 2 lbs per week using nothing but walk it out with the balance board for exercise while eating a low carb diet of 25 or fewer carbs a day. I’ve lost a total of 10 lbs over the course of about 6 weeks.

Review Get Fit with Walk it Out Konami Wii Game was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure is an anime musical strategy JRPG first appearing on PS1 and Later on the Nintendo DS. This review focuses on the PS1 version.

Preface: Okay, while researching some stuff (such as release date, etc) for this review, I discovered there was a sequel, and now I am sad AF because the sequel never left Japan….. Major Heartbreak!

WARNING THIS LINK ABOUT THE SEQUEL HAS HUGE SPOILERS ABOUT BOTH GAMES!!!! READ AT OWN RISK!!! 

The original is one of my all time favorite games. I love all the songs, the heart warming, touching story, the cute characters, adorable graphics, simple grid based turn-based Strategy JRPG gameplay, and use of the puppets in battle.

I greatly prefer the version by Atlus on the PS1, much more than the version by NIS on the DS, because Atlus dubbed all of the songs in English, while NIS only left them in Japanese. If I remember correctly, the version by Atlus let you choose to play them in the original Japanese as well. If it’s a musical, it’s more fun in English, so we can sing along, am I right? 🙂 I still can remember the words/melody to a lot of the songs even though it has been years since my first or subsequent play throughs. NIS also changed the gameplay from a grid based system to a straight forward turn-based traditional JRPG style of combat.

For the purpose of this review, since I prefer the original, and the two games are significantly different in terms of gameplay, this review only covers the PS1 game by Atlus. Now onto the review…

Title: Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure

Alternate Titles (Also Known As): Marl Kingdom, Little Princess Marl, or Marl Okoku no Ningyo Hime in Japan. Also referred to as The Adventure of Puppet Princess.

Genre: Strategy RPG

Publisher: Atlus

Platform: PSOne

Release Date: 2000

Where to Buy: If you want new, factory sealed, you’re looking at $250. Luckily, many used copies exist for under $35. You can check the current price and purchase Rhapsody for the PS1 here.

You can also find the Nintendo version here. Though if at all possible, I’d really urge you to play the PS1 version, it’s just so much infinitely better.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 – Dated as this game may be, its bright colorful graphics are still quite pretty. The combat is nothing spectacular and it is linear and simple. The big “geek” points go to the fact that the game is literally a musical. The characters break out into song and dance and the soundtrack very much tells us the story. There are well over a dozen or more vocal tracks and all of the characters are fully voiced. Interestingly enough, wikipedia tells me that it was almost entirely a one girl show, what a talented voice actress! She gave voice/song to all except for 3 or 4 of the characters.

Sweetie: 5/5 – the graphic style is so cute and colorful, the characters are very full of emotion and there is a ton of humor, as well as romance, and a message about the meaning of family, and morals, and just… everything. Also strong female leads, which was pretty rare “back in the day”. This game is a must play for all girls.

Overview: 10/10 – There is simply nothing else in the world like this game. It’s an anime musical JRPG. It has adorable graphics, touching, amusing, and likable characters, and is brimming with “feels and emotions”. From a technical standpoint, there’s really nothing ground breaking here. It is very typical of gameplay in most other Strategy JRPGs of its time. But the music and characters set this game apart and make it an extremely unique experience.

Gameplay: 5/10 – Gameplay isn’t bad, but it’s not the reason you play this game. This game is very easy and simple. The main character takes a back seat, supporting her army of puppets who move around a grid and use various items, attacks, and abilities to thwart their foes. It’s a linear game that takes you from point A to point B, pretty monotonously and mindlessly. This game is carried by the music, voice acting, memorable characters, and touching story. There are different costumes you can find and different puppets you can add to your team, but other than that, it’s a pretty straight forward experience if you’ve ever played any other Strategy JRPGs before.

Story: 10/10 – Cornet is a kindhearted girl who has a magical gift in that she is able to communicate with dolls and puppets. One such doll is Cornet’s faithful sidekick, Kururu. Kururu has guided the young Cornet all her life. Cornet is often lonely as her mother passed away at an early age. However, despite her loneliness, Cornet remains cheerful, kind, and helpful to all of the villagers in part thanks to her puppet friends. She is regarded as a simple and sweet girl, and many of the villagers take pity on her for not having a mother.

Although she is just a common girl, Cornet has fallen in love with the Prince. Unrealistic as her love may be, Cornet has always believed in “dreaming big” and her innocent outlook on life leads her to hope that anything is possible.

Cornet isn’t the only one with eyes for the prince however. A beautiful witch appears in the kingdom one day with her sights set on the prince. When the prince refuses her advances, the witch casts a spell on him turning him to stone.

Thus begins Cornet’s series of quests to reverse the witch’s curse. The witch has many henchmen and lackeys who try to interfere in Cornet’s plans.

As she travels, Cornet will make new friends and enemies, both human and puppet alike. Also she will learn more about herself, her mother, and her unique gifts and talents.

Characters: 10/10 Cornet is the star of our show, a simple, pure hearted girl who can talk to puppets. She lost her mother when she was very young and has mostly been raised by a strange talking puppet named Kururu.

Prince Ferdinand is the prince who early in our story is turned to stone. Cornet and Marjolly are both in love with the Prince.

Marjolly is a wicked but beautiful witch who vengefully curses the prince when he refuses her romantically. Marjolly is also not very skilled at magic, and somewhat of a “bumbling idiot”. Her spells often have very unintended consequences and/or back fire. She is often less “evil” feeling and more of a “comedic relief” despite being the main villain in the game.

Kururu is a “living doll” who has always watched out for and guided Cornet. The two are extremely close. And there is a secret that Cornet does not know about her puppet friend.

Etoile is a wealthy and beautiful, but ill tempered and spoiled girl who is close to Cornet’s age. Although she is “better than” Cornet in almost every way, she still feels jealous and inferior and threatened by Cornet. The two have an interesting love/hate relationship, frenemies if you will.

There are many other delightful and wonderful characters as well.

Graphics: 7/10 – Although dated severely, the graphics remain bright and colorful and still attractive, even 17 years after its initial US release. Also in a time when retro gaming is very popular, and pixel art is “in” – what was once old, is now hot again. An interesting thing to note, although there are many, many cutscenes, these are done with the same sprites and pixel graphics as the rest of the game, unlike other anime games of that time such as Persona and Lunar which use a more hand-drawn or anime style for their cutscenes. This in one way helps keep things cohesive and flowing well from one moment to the next, however, it does result in less detailed cutscenes. The sprites are still adorable and animated and capable of conveying a lot of emotion despite the simple sprites. I would love to see a new release with anime cutscenes (like Lunar and Persona) and/or celshading used throughout the game and cutscenes (such as with Catherine).

Music: 10/10 – Easily 10/10 – one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time because of the huge number of vocal tracks and how they tie in so closely to the story – in fact, they ARE the story. Many of them are insanely, like seriously insanely catchy!!! I love the songs in this game!!

Voice Acting – 10/10 – They sing and act, and as I mentioned, one girl gives voice to about 6 of the main characters – very talented!  If you hate dubs (which trust me, I usually do too!) you can also play with the Japanese audio. 🙂 But then you can’t sing along, or as easily get the song stuck in your head the next day lol.

Replay Value: 3/10 – It’s linear, and simple, and the only reason you will want to replay is to re-read the heartwarming story, and hear that awesome soundtrack again. I’ve replayed this at least 3 or 4 times now and love it every single time – but objectively, yeah there’s really nothing here story or gameplay wise for increased replay value.

Overall Score: 73/90 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

Rhapsody a Musical Adventure Retro Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

How to Protect Your Retro Gaming Collection

Are you a retro video game collector? If so you know how expensive, or hard to find, some games and console systems can be. Many 16 and 32 bit games now sell for more than a hundred dollars for a single cartridge on the second hand market. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars for even a modest sized retro game collection. If you’re a serious collector, you may be interested in purchasing insurance to help protect your gaming collection.

Did you know you can add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renters Insurance? This way, should anything happen to your home, such as fire, flood, theft or other events, you can rest easy knowing your video games are covered by the insurance.

Many people find that researching and trying to make sense of the many insurance options available to them, to be too time consuming, and too much of a hassle. But lately, there are many online companies who want to make understanding and selecting the right Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance an easy and fast process with just a few clicks.

Jetty is one such company that will allow you to add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance. Jetty’s website immediately looks and feels different from other insurance companies. The site is clean and modern feeling with lots of images and animation, humor, and way less legal jargon. It’s also completely mobile friendly, so it makes purchasing Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance something you can even do on your lunch break or on the go.

Jetty considers themselves to be an insurance company for people in “cities” and they want to help busy city dwellers get set up quickly with the right insurance. Jetty even makes it easy for young folks to get started in their first Condo/co-op or apartment with their Jetty Passport system which replaces the need for a security deposit or cosigner.

I went through the Jetty App which took less than 10 minutes, and honestly, I was surprised how affordable it can be to get basic Renter’s or Condo/co-op Insurance AND insurance for my gaming collection, all for less than $20 a month. Oh I also added the optional electronics insurance for just $2 a month which protects things like Iphones and Laptops from drops, spills, water damage. Way cheaper than the insurance offered by your cell phone carrier or electronic retail stores.

Here is my experience using the App. 🙂 With pictures. Everyone loves pictures.

The first thing it’s going to do is ask for your address and some basic info like how much your monthly rent is, and if you live alone or with a significant other, etc. This is all used to calculate your basic insurance.

Next, here starts the fun part. You can add optional insurance to protect your valuables and electronics (like that retro video game collection, or your $2,000 gaming Laptop).

video game insurance
video game insurance

First, try to decide how much your collection is actually worth. Think about those games that are rare, out of print, obscure, hard to find, or imported from other countries. You can research amazon and eBay or even google to see how much the game is worth. Consider also the condition your games are in. Are they in mint pristine condition with manuals and original packaging? If so that may make them worth more. By the way, Jetty doesn’t have a button for video games (yet) so you should just add them to “Special Collections”.

retro game collections
retro game collections

I estimated my collection to be worth about $3,000 (not counting my gaming laptop, because I wasn’t thinking of it at the time and focused on the retro game portion of my collection. If I added the new gaming laptop in, that would make the collection value closer to $4,500).

How much is your retro game collection worth?
How much is your retro game collection worth?

After calculating the value of your collection, you’ll also be offered a chance to add that sweet Electronics Insurance, I mentioned above which will help protect your phone or laptop or gaming PC from accidental damage from drops, slips, spills, falls, etc. This is a really good value and much cheaper than going with insurance from your cellphone provider or electronic retail stores.

Electronics Insurance
Electronics Insurance

Finally, you’ve reached the end. On the next screen they will show you how much your insurance will cost and it will be broken down to help you understand exactly what you’re paying for, such as basic insurance, your collections, and electronics protection.

As you can see, for my $3,000 retro video game collection, basic Renters Insurance, and electronic’s protection, I’m looking at about $18 a month. That is a really low price for some peace of mind!

You can also use the collections feature on Jetty to protect your dolls, figures, toys, and other geeky collections. Check out Jetty’s website to learn how to protect your retro video game collection or anything else that you’d like to insure.

How to Protect Your Retro Gaming Collection was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Stardew Valley Review

As mentioned in another post here, I spent much of this past weekend playing Stardew Valley on the PC. Stardew Valley is a game that harkens back memories of popular retro games such as Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. The game is fun and relaxing… however, like most games in this genre, the gameplay can get tedious and repetitive at times. Stardew Valley also suffers significant development delays and setbacks, which is not surprising considering the entire game, from the graphics, to music, to programming, was all made by just one person. It doesn’t get anymore “indie” than that. Despite these few small flaws, the game is one of the highest rated Steam games of all time with nearly 50,000 Overwhelmingly Positives since its release in February 2016. If you’re still wondering if Stardew Valley is worth playing, read my Stardew Valley Review below.

Title: Stardew Valley

Developer: ConcernedApe

Publisher: Chucklefish

Platform: PC (also recently released for Xbox One, PS4, and soon to be released for Nintendo Switch)

Genre: Farming Simulation

Where to Buy: PC Version on Steam Here.

Release Date: February 2016

Geeky: 2/5  –  This is a low budget indie game, so you won’t see triple A graphics here. And given the genre and nature of farming simulation games there isn’t much action going on. I also feel the controls and UI are clunky, to the point of detracting from the gameplay (read more about that later in this review). However, given that 1 man made everything in this game, that’s pretty impressive and worth an extra star at least for effort!

Sweetie: 4/5  – Everything about this game exudes charm and cuteness. However, the characters feel impersonal and the story a bit lacking, costing it to lose 1 heart for “sweetie” factor.

Overall: 60/80 75% D- “Average Game for Girls”

Concept: 8/10 It’s hard to believe this game has been out for less than a year; it’s so wildly popular and became an instant fan classic, that even games by fully staffed development teams have not made nearly as successful games or seen as many sales or positive reviews in years worth of time. And day by day new fans come to experience Stardew Valley for their very first time and fall in love, and continue to share their experiences. I was somewhat late to join the party, starting back in maybe July of 2016.

At that time, people were growing restless with lack of progress made on features that had been promised such as multiplayer. Here we are another 6 months later, and there’s still no word on when multiplayer will be added, just simply that it is in the works. The game has received several updates and improvements, including finishing “routes” for “new” characters (The characters were already present, but now you can date more of them).

And that’s important because really… the game of Stardew Valley is like the game of your life. Stardew Valley’s open sandbox environment and multiple choices and decisions that you will make, all shape what will happen. Will you get married? have kids? Choose a life of adventure exploring dungeons, fishing all day, or focus on rebuilding your grandfather’s farm? Or maybe just sit at the tavern, playing games, and wasting your virtual life – the choice is yours.

Although the game starts slow, once it picks up, there will be numerous choices you must make (which you’ll start to notice around maybe Fall of the first year or so)… Things such as deciding if you want to let fruit bats live in the cave near your farm or if you want to use the cave to grow mushrooms. Hopefully by Fall of the first year you’ve had time and resources to upgrade your house or add new buildings that let you craft new recipes and add new gameplay elements such as making pickled vegetables, fruit preserves, wine, cooking meals from your crops in your new kitchen, etc. Characters at times may also ask you questions which may impact the game or change their friendship towards you, such as asking you what types of books you like to read, etc. Lil bit by lil bit you will begin to see how YOUR farm in Stardew Valley differs from that of your friends’ farms. (Or how it will differ for you on subsequent playthroughs).

There are also numerous in-game events held throughout each season such as festivals, cooking contests, dance parties, and more. If you’ve been working on your social skills in the game and making friends, or even romances, these special events will be even more special, having someone to share them with.

You start with little in way of resources to begin the game and with little to do. When I first started playing, it was tedious. It felt like work, like real life. It was made somewhat worse by bad controls and UI… However now, as my first year in Stardew Valley draws to a close, the game has me firmly hooked. I couldn’t believe I stayed up until 1am playing it lastnight, and I want nothing more than to go home and play it again as soon as possible. — Soon you will be able to take Stardew Valley with you everywhere you go with the Nintendo Switch! For many, this means starting all over from scratch though and replaying through these tedious first few hours of gameplay as I seriously doubt it will sync your game saves — though it would be awesome if it did!

Stardew Valley is slow paced, and definitely not for everyone. There is some combat; however, at least on the PC, the combat is simple and basic at best, and involves no strategy, and just mindless clicking. The controls also make any actions, from combat, to fishing, to farming, a real pain at times. However, despite these flaws, Stardew Valley shines because of the charming retro vibe and relaxing gameplay mechanics. It’s one of the best casual games around and guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy. It is just simply a “Feel Good Kind of Game”.

Gameplay: 6/10 If you’ve ever played a Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game then you will be right at home in Stardew Valley. The basics of gameplay include planting, watering, and harvesting crops, conversing with townsfolk, dating/marrying a townsfolk, upgrading/decorating your home, exploring dungeons, collecting and crafting items, and joining in various events. — It was also marketed as an “Online or Multiplayer” farming game (which drew many fans who have long dreamed of an Online Harvest Moon — however, that feature, which arguably is the game’s MAIN feature, is still no where to be seen and with no estimated release date a year later.

I’m critiquing the gameplay for the PC version right now since it’s the only version I have played as of time of review. While the features of the gameplay would get high marks here in terms of the vast amount of things to see, do, choices and consequences, and customization, the score ultimately suffers due to terrible controls and UI. Please note for this review I play on a laptop and do not use a mouse. I am a keyboard only user. As such, there are some things that just DON’T work. Period.

Like for example, I read that to put bait on a fishing pole you left click the bait then right click the fishing pole, but nothing happens when I do this. Luckily, you can fish without bait, but with some tools you aren’t so lucky. I assume that loading the slingshot with stones also works in the same fashion but can’t figure out how to load it with ammunition either which makes it completely useless to me. At the fall grange faire, the controls for fishing were different than fishing on the main map too! In the main map I can use my button shortcode which is C as opposed to mouse clicking, — this for some reason does not work at the fall grange faire and you have to use the mouse (in my case keep in mind, I’m using my laptop’s “touchpad” which you can click/scroll/operate like a mouse.) —

I have read that PS4 controllers will now work in Steam so I may have to try that and hope they are supported in Stardew Valley. I also do have a usb mouse – but given that I play largely from my bed, it makes finding a place to put the mouse a challenge. I am surprised because quite simply, this is a casual game. If I were expecting to smoothly play a triple A title without a mouse, from my bed, well that would be my own fault for having unreasonable expectations… but the truth is, there’s nothing here that should require finesse or skill.

And it’s not just a little bit cumbersome, it’s that things completely don’t work in some cases as illustrated above at worst. At best, I find myself constantly turning away from my target while fighting in the dungeon, or watering an empty square next to the plant I’m trying to water. Or I’ll forget I have an axe equipped and accidentally kill a crop I’m trying to work with (OK so that last one is my fault 🙂 lol).

The gameworld is not that large, but you walk really slow, which makes it seem a bit larger (Please note for this review, I’m critiquing the default map, not the new ones added in after release). You will also find that you get weak from exhaust and/or injuries easily when you first begin playing, and that even adding new weapons, armor, and accessories, doesn’t seem to speed up combat as much as you might hope.

Despite these weaknesses, the gameplay is actually fun and enjoyable with a wide variety of things to do and see. In fact, there’s often not enough in-game hours in a day to do everything. I love rainy days in the game so I can go fishing or explore the dungeons without wasting half a day tending to my crops. I also love that as you continue to do something in game, such as fish or fight monsters, you gain levels of proficiency with different skills and at certain levels, these skills branch off and force you to choose a path, with different pros and cons, which further customizes your experience from that of your friends – and also greatly adds to replay value.

There could be some other features added that would further enhance gameplay, difficulty and challenge, such as making certain foods expire – would also create need to use the preserve machine — or making for example icecream melt after so many in-game hours. As it stands right now you could buy or grow an item in year one, and eat it 5 years later without risk of getting sick, etc. They could even add a temporary debuff “Food Poisoning” that would wear off after so many in game hours.

Story: 6/10 – Well the story is that you write your own story. You decide exactly what you want to do, who you want to be with, and shape your own virtual life. It offers a ton of customization and the story does branch and reveal different routes based on who you date and other decisions you make within the game, but largely, by the end of the first year, the story has felt weak and bare bones at best. The in-game events do help to spice things up however, I suspect that after the first year they will be less exciting since you’ve already seen them. — However, it makes up for this in the amount of customization, freedom, and exploration that these open world sandbox games are best known for. Watching slowly as your farm takes shape and beginning to set a path for yourself and discover how to make your farm uniquely your own is truly the best aspect of this game, and that will become even more of a big selling point once multi-player finally gets implemented so you can visit friends’ farms.

Characters: 6/10 – Well, there’s a lot of them, but none of them are terribly interesting… They will recycle through the same dialog over and over. In the beginning, as to be expected, many of the characters are distrustful of you (You’re a stranger afterall!), and so they do not talk about anything meaningful or overly deep. Getting close to people, just like in real life, takes time. Relationships take work, and Stardew Valley is no exception to that rule… I have yet to see if the characters, or story for that matter, get more interesting past the first year, but with well over 30 hours of real life put into the game, that’s more time than one should be expected to “wait and see” if things improve.

Right now my highest relationship, according to the fortune teller at the fall grange fair, is with Shane, one of the newly added routes in a recent update. He is sorta the Tsundere type. Rough on the outside. He often plays guitar in the tavern. He likes Hot Peppers, Spaghetti, and Pizza for presents, and he is a cold unfeeling jerk lol. At least initially. I think there may be more to him, which is why I was curious to pursue him. I think his route shows the most promise for “character development” if written correctly. It will be nice to see him warm up and hopefully be less of a jerk over time lol.

Other characters seem to pay homage to various Harvest Moon games, there’s a guy named Linus (not dateable) living in a tent who reminds me of Gustafa from Harvest Moon on the Gamecube. There’s Harvey who is a doctor, Demetrius a scientist (who at time of this review is not dateable), Sebastian who is a stereotypical Emo/Goth guy, Alex a fitness nut,  a Magician (I don’t believe he’s dateable either), Clint who is a Blacksmith, and Elderly couple. The tavern workers, a Museum worker, a Carpenter (female), Goth girl, Librarian (female), and a handful of others.

Despite not having much “depth” to the characters (at least after almost a whole year of time passing in game), the characters themselves are charming, and always busy and on the move. They breathe life into the game and keep it feeling active and bustling year round. Not only these human characters, but the animals on your farm, the monsters in the dungeon, and even just little touches like birds and butterflies randomly flying or a squirrel quickly climbing a tree, or a rabbit running through the bushes, they all make the game seem… living. It seems as if every character has a mind of their own and a life of their own. This is a big plus and part of the game’s unique charm.

Graphics: 8/10 – Keep in mind, this is an indie game that wanted to go for a retro-vibe. If you’re not a fan of “outdated” graphics, RPG Maker style games, and Isometric Top-Down view style games, then this is not the game for you. — That said, Stardew Valley is for you if you grew up with the 16 bit Harvest Moon games, don’t mind “indie-retro” games, like to customize the appearance of your character, and like “cute” bright graphics.

Everything about Stardew Valley is exceptionally charming. And there is a lot of work that went into everything from the tile sets used in town or your farm, to the dungeons, character portraits, or animations. As mentioned above, the environment really feels almost like it’s alive somehow, with so many small details and little touches, falling leaves, wind, rain, animals, and background animations that really add to the charm and little extra love that was poured into this game.

I’d like to see maybe a tad more detail on the character sprites, and even more options added for character customization and more interior decorating items, or more various monster designs and not just recolors – but that’s just a wishlist, already, the artwork is pretty great if you’re a fan of pixel style games.

I did take off a few points for the following:

  • It gets pretty hard to see where I’m going at night. I dunno if it’s my monitor settings – and I am well aware you can craft items like torches and etc to brighten things up, but I get pretty lost.
  • Also some items can be hard to see if they’re behind trees, or other tall graphic items, and this too, can at times cause you to feel “stuck”.
  • Lastly, back to the UI again, it is just a lil bit clunky and could use some refinement.

Music: 10/10 – The soundtrack is one of my favorite things about this game. It is infectiously catchy. Not only does it feature great music, but sound effects are skillfully used to further create immersion and once again give rise to a game world that feels bursting with life. Sound effects for weather effects, animals, monsters, and machines and tools all help paint a picture of what life in Stardew Valley is all about.

Replay Value: 10/10 – Despite myself criticizing many things in this game such as terrible controls and user interface, lack of promised features and development setbacks, and a rather barebones story and characters who are dull and cliche, there’s just something indescribable about the gameplay itself. It is just a fun game. It’s not a perfect game… but it is one that I would recommend. I can seriously see myself sinking hundreds, or even thousands, of hours into the game, a single playthrough takes probably a hundred hours or more, and if you want to try a different profession or pick a different husband or wife, you’ll be starting a new farm, as the game autosaves every night which takes the freedom of creating multiple save files from a single playthrough out of your hands.

When I play Stardew Valley, I feel like I’m living a second virtual life, I come to care about my character, her friends and relationships, the farm, the city, and everything that’s going on in the game world. It offers me a challenge with several aspects being only discovered later in the game, and that too keeps the experience feeling fun and fresh and wondering what will happen each time I play.

Stardew Valley is a game that pulls you in with all of its charm — However, it could do with some fine tuning to greatly improve certain gameplay and story aspects.

Would I play it again? Absolutely. Given the sheer amount of things to see and do, it is impossible to accomplish everything on a single playthrough and no two farms are exactly alike.

It is that feeling, that my farm, my village, my animals, my crops, my house, my little virtual family, that they are unique and truly unlike anyone elses’ that is the driving force that makes me want to sit down and invest my precious time and energy into this game. That and the kawaii cute graphics and charming nature of the game that seem to just suck you right in.

And once Multiplayer gets implemented, kiss your real life goodbye, as the 50,000 people who think “Overwhelmingly Positive” things about the game, as well as thousand of new players, will be busy visiting their friends’ farms and experiencing brand new gameplay elements.

Stardew Valley is constantly evolving with new maps, new characters, new skills, new recipes, and new fun!

Overall: 60/80 75% D- “Average Game for Girls”

Stardew Valley Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

My Lucia From Lunar Eternal Blue Cosplay Costume

Lunar is one of my all-time favorite videogame series still to this day. I love pretty much anything by Working Designs really. Originally I was invited by a friend to go to a convention and cosplay together, but they couldn’t make the convention, so I actually haven’t gotten to wear this yet, aside from trying it on for photos. Hoping to wear it to Tekko in March 2017. This costume was commissioned and designed by Kathy’s Creations in Greenville, PA. My Boots still have not arrived, will add more/new pics when boots arrive, or when at a convention. Thanks for looking and have a great day <3.

This is just a very quick photoshoot, I didn’t take time to pin back my own hair before applying the wig, and am wearing absolutely no makeup. Wig also probably could have used a bit of spray and detangling – also later realized I should have tucked in the shirt to look more like the character, but well these are things that I will remember to do next time 🙂 Hopefully when it counts, like at a convention.

Lots of Pics!!

Click to enlarge:

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

undefined

Lunar Eternal Blue is the 2nd game in the Lunar series. Both Lunar Eternal Blue, and Lunar Silver Star have been remade numerous times. Their first appearance was on Sega CD back in the 90s. That is when I fell in love with the franchise. After that, they were remade for Sega Saturn (but not brought to the USA), and later ported to PSOne. Since PSOne, Eternal Blue has NOT been remade, while Silver Star has been remade numerous times for PSP, GBA, IPAD, and more. I don’t know why this is, since Lunar Eternal Blue, in my opinion has a much better storyline, characters, etc. Both games are love stories at heart, both set in a medieval fantasy type setting. The worlds in Lunar are rich with lore and very detailed.

If you’ve not played Lunar, you should play it yourself, but if you’re curious as to who this character is, there is a brief synopsis below in the Spoiler Tags:

Update: My boots finally came so here are some more Pics. Also tried another wig I had which is more blue and less aqua colored.

Also there’s 2 fun phone apps that can be neat for cosplay. YouCam lets you put on makeup without changing your face or features very much (may change eyebrows with some makeups, and theres also a few fun animal-face filters). YouCam has hundreds of filters AND you can go “off the map” by creating your own makeup without use of the filters. Making the possibilities almost endless. The second app is BeautyCam which turns your pics into anime characters (it doesnt have many filters and there may be better/similar apps)

 

 

I also used Adobe Lightroom in some of the pics…

Image may contain: 1 person

My Lucia From Lunar Eternal Blue Cosplay Costume was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

New Amazon Exclusive Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL with Super Mario World Preinstalled for $199.00

Amazon has a new exclusive color for the new Nintendo 3DS XL – a lime green shell with black interior. It comes pre-installed with Super Mario World. — It however does not come with an AC Adapter — When I read that I was kinda all wtf? Is this the case for all “new” Nintendo 3DS XL models? If so, what is Nintendo thinking? This seems like a must have item – cuz once it’s dead, it needs charged. It will work with any NDSi, 3DS, or 2DS adapter but then so what? So they only want to target “existing” customers with this device? — Or they REALLY care about making a few meager bucks by forcing customers to by the dumb adapters instead of including one for free??? Even if they had to “pad the price” of the 3DS XL a little – like make it $225 instead of $199 to cover the cost of the adapter, that seems more intelligent than not including one at all. How many people (especially parents buying gifts for their kids) are not going to read the fine print and not even see it doesn’t include an adapter until it’s too late? – This is just a bonehead move by Nintendo – or Amazon – whoever’s idea this was it’s dumb…

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

You can see the new Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL here: http://amzn.to/2fWTLOV

But none the less, the new system is very pretty! It’s what I would call, “Yoshi Green” lol. And Super Mario World (assuming it’s anything like the one on super nintendo) is probably the best Mario game — I also love the 64 version, and Super Mario Bros 3 though a lot too. But Super Mario World has a lot of secrets to explore like Rainbow Road, the Ghost Houses, different exits and hidden warp zones and lots of fun things. It’s a very long and large Mario game, and a classic in the franchise. And it’s just plain fun too!

Here are some pics of the new unit:

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Lime Green Amazon Exclusive New 3DS XL with Super Mario World for $199

New Amazon Exclusive Lime Green Nintendo 3DS XL with Super Mario World Preinstalled for $199.00 was originally published on

Cosmic Spacehead Retro Sega Genesis Videogame Review

Title: Cosmic Spacehead

Genre: Point and Click / Puzzle Solving

Release Date: 1993

Platform: (For this Review) Sega Genesis (there were also other versions including NES and Gamegear).

Developer: Codemasters

Where to Buy:    //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=anisug-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B000035XIP&asins=B000035XIP&linkId=b422bee0e032003554dbe40667f760aa&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

 

Geeky:  4/5 – High marks here for the graphics and production values, losing a point for the sometimes challenging/frustrating puzzles as well as challenging platform minigames which create more frustration than enjoyment at times.

Sweetie:  4/5 – High marks here for charm and whimsy – losing a point for weak story and lack of replay value

Concept: 8/10 This is a very cute and cheeky point and click puzzle solving adventure game with a lot of humor and mischief. It also had amazing graphics for its time and technical limitations back in the early 90s. What I like about Cosmic Spacehead is how colorful and detailed the game world is and how it mixes sometimes crude and adult humor into a rather childlike game setting. However, the story is pretty “out there” and if you’re wanting anything serious or emotional or thought provoking this game is not for you :). But if you’re looking for something “different” or just simply “fun” you should check this game out.

Gameplay: 7/10 The 90s was the hay-days for point and click adventure games, however, Cosmic Spacehead takes a slightly different approach to the genre by also combining different game mechanics in the form of dozens of fun minigames, from platforming, side scrolling, even racing. These cute and fun minigames helped breakup some of the tedium which often plagued other point-n-click games of the 90s. Aside from the minigames, the controls in Cosmic Spacehead are your typical run of the mill point-n-click fare. You explore different locations, examine objects, pick up and use objects, talk to various characters, and solve puzzles to continue on your journey.

One of the pitfalls in the gameplay is that many of the puzzles make no logical sense and leave you backtracking or just spending hours via trial and error which takes some of the fun out of the game. There’s also not a large number of puzzles, so assuming you do not get stuck, you can easily complete this game within a few hours.

At the end of each level, you’ll encounter a mario-style platform minigame which is often criticized for being extremely challenging as if you get hit or miss a jump it’s instant death.

Still, it’s the experience of playing a virtual cartoon and enjoying the humor along the way which makes the game so much fun and unique. In an era of a lot of “sameness” this little game was brave enough to be different. It didn’t always pan out, but taking risks, is worth a few brownie points in my opinion. Cosmic Spacehead is a game that wants to make you smile. And it does that very well. It may have been a parody or attempt to mock the success of point and click adventure games at large. Nothing about this game takes itself very seriously.

Story: 5/10 You are Cosmic Spacehead, and you’ve just returned from discovering an ancient forgotten planet called Earth. However, when you get back home, no one seems to believe your story. To make matters worse, you’re dirt poor and have no way to get back to Earth to prove everyone wrong.  To remedy this, you begin to carry out errands and odd jobs which leads to earning in-game currency and puts you closer to your goal to prove Earth exists. The story like everything else in the game is very light hearted and has a tongue and cheek style of humor which may appeal more to adults than young kids despite the simplistic gameplay. Although the story is zany and bright, there’s just not much substance to it to merit giving it a higher score. It’s a fun and enjoyable experience, but not amazing by any means. The story definitely takes a back seat to the gameplay here.

Characters: 7/10 – Although there are few characters in number, they are very unique and memorable. The humor and colorful graphics helps to endear anyone friend or foe that you meet along your travels.

Graphics: 10/10 – One of the best looking games on the Genesis. The world is bright and colorful and animated to help bring the characters to life. It’s a playful and vibrant world and is one of the most charming games you’ll see on this system.

Music: 7/10 – The music in cosmic spacehead is bright and bold and strangely addicting. It helps set the futuristic theme and like the story itself, it keeps an upbeat and sometimes unexpected tempo that seems to fit the game world quite well.

Replay Value: 3/10  – The game is short and linear. However, there’s really no other game like it, and it’s worth replaying just to revisit the colorful worlds and characters. Once you know the puzzles though, replaying games such as this becomes not nearly as fun, therefore, I recommend waiting a few years between replays, so you might forget some of the solutions along the way and get to have fun solving them again – well fun, or hours of frustration – either way, Cosmic Spacehead is a really quirky and cute game that you’ll want to revisit at least once again for nostalgia’s sake.

Overall: 55/80 69%  D+ “Average Game for Girls” – While this is my objective review, I’d still recommend this game anyways – it’s short and sweet, and cute and whimsical enough that it really should be considered a must play as it’s oddly addictive and endearing in so many ways.

Cosmic Spacehead Retro Sega Genesis Videogame Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Pixel x Pixel Games Announces Guardian of The Rose Action RPG With Branching Plot and Multiple Endings Based On Your Choices

If there’s one thing that I love in a game, it’s a branching plot and multiple endings, as you’ll see from many of the games reviewed or news given here on this website. So I was really excited when Pixel x Pixel Games emailed me yesterday to promote their new Action-RPG.

This game looks really great for retro game lovers. It was clearly made with a lot of love and fond memories of someone growing up in the 90s playing all of the classic games.

I’ll just include the message I received from Pixel x Pixel Games below because it pretty much highlights all of the features that I would want to highlight about this game. I’ve bolded the bits that I thought were the most exciting. Check out what Pixel x Pixel Games has to say about Guardian of the Rose below.

Guardians of the Rose is a story of high adventure, taken on by a small group of companions, that are seeking to overthrow the Great Witches that have assumed control of the kingdom. You are a newly christened member of the Royal Guard, the magic-keepers of the king. With the Royal Guard now tainted by witchcraft you have no choice but to take it upon yourself to form a new Guard that will overthrow the witchcraft that has enslaved the kingdom. Encounters with river spirits, groundlings, giants, and dragons alike are some of the adventures that will befall you.

Open-Ended Adventuring – The world is laid out specifically so that you can choose to explore in any direction you want. You can choose to progress the storyline at your own pace while immersing yourself inside the lore and sidequests of the kingdom. These sidequests are not your typical “save my chicken” type quests but instead are designed to make the player feel like he is making a significant difference in the lands around him.

High Fantasy pitting Magic vs Witchcraft – Magic was taught to the people by a legendary hero that saved the world from the Great Witches long ago. Ever since, witchcraft has been outlawed and users of the craft have been hunted mercilessly by the Royal Guard. Now that witchcraft has risen to power again, you are tasked with saving the Kingdom but you have no magical ability like the great heroes of times before.

Compelling Story – Guardians of the Rose was heavily inspired by the classic tales of Homer, Viking Sagas, and high fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings and Winds of Fate. Not only is the main storyline compelling but there is a focus on enveloping the entire game in epic world lore.

Choose your own way to play – The player must choose what path to take, good or evil. The only goal of the game is to restore peace to the land. How it is done is up to the player. You can choose to incite revolution from the stealth of the shadows or you can wage all out war. With a completely customizable stats and skills system there is very little the player does not have control over.

Multiple Endings – Depending on how you play the game, which path you take in your exploration of the lands, and who you decide to party with, the game’s story and ending can change fairly drastically.

Guardians of the Rose is a story-driven 2D action adventure RPG. It controls like a modernized, fast-paced version of old-school Zelda and Gauntlet games with the RPG elements of the Elder Scrolls Series.

Along with the inspiration from classic books and stories the games style was inspired by old school Arcade games that I would play as a kid at Pizza Hut and the local bowling Alley.

Check out the press release provided by Pixel x Pixel Games below:

Press Kit

 

DESCRIPTION

Guardians of the Rose is a story-driven 2D action adventure RPG.

  • Controls like a modernizedfast-paced version of old-school Zelda and Gauntlet games with the RPG elements of the Elder Scrolls Series.
  • Inspired by the Classics of the 8-bit and 16-bit Generations
  • Pixel Art Graphics and Chiptune Sounds
  • Hidden Secrets around every corner
  • Compelling, charming characters
  • Open World Exploration
  • Epic Boss Fights
  • Long lost magical Artifacts
  • Choose how you complete the story: wage all out war, incite a revolution, or something in-between
  • Alternate Endings based on how you play the game

STORY

The illegal art of Witchcraft has tainted the Royal Guard and brought ruin upon the kingdom.  A small group of the Royal Guard has slaughtered the King’s family and taken control of the kingdom.  It is now up to you and a small group of members of the Royal Guard that calls themselves the Guardians of the Rose to save the kingdom.  Your small band of allies has to work together in secret to cause a revolution in the kingdom.  One slip up and you will be on the run from the Royal Guard and wanted by relentless bounty hunters.

And you, a boy with no magical ability, are left with the task to save the kingdom.  Will you choose to taint yourself with witchcraft or will you choose to search out legendary magical items to use in your struggle to save the kingdom?  Explore the Unfellable Forest while avoiding being trampled by Sand Giants and Unfellable Beasts.  Fight off sea serpents and other creatures of the deep that are terrorizing sea port towns.  Venture into the snow-ridden Mountain Lands and discover hidden temples in the wild forests.

(see kickstarter lore for more information on Guardians of the Rose’s Story)

HISTORY OF PIXEL X PIXEL GAMES

My uncle taught me how to play Mario and Duck Hunt on the NES when I was 1 or 2 years old.  Shortly after, he gave me his NES when he was shipped off to Desert Storm.  I’ve wanted to make video games ever since.  I’ve been drawing and selling my art to strangers and my mom’s coworkers since I was 3 years old.

I was a graphic designer/web developer before becoming a stay-at-home dad in 2012 when my son was born.  In late 2012 I published my first flash game to Mochimedia.  After working on a couple more games in ActionScript I realized that I had arrived to the Flash party after everyone else had already left.  I then continued practicing making games on Unity with C# for a couple of years and now have been developing Guardians of the Rose inside of Game Maker Studio using their in-born coding language GML.

SCREENSHOTS

Download all the screenshots, gifs and the trailer as a .zip file:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/f917k4jjiikfacu/Press%20Kit%20Media.zip?dl=0
http://www.mediafire.com/download/633b7ahv3hz998o/Press_Kit_Media.zip
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4W6ptGYrY37VGllRmJqbFI0VGs

Pixel x Pixel Games Announces Guardian of The Rose Action RPG With Branching Plot and Multiple Endings Based On Your Choices was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Ever17 The Out of Infinity Visual Novel PC Game Review

Ever17 is probably my all time favorite visual novel. It was one of the first that I had played, and the story is so good. It’s not your typical “dating” or “romance” novel. It’s a very thrilling and suspenseful tale about a group of young people trapped in an underwater theme park. They are running out of oxygen, and worse yet, the computer systems are failing which is causing the pressure inside the ship to build, causing leaks. They’re also running out of fresh food and water. Strange things also begin happening aboard the ship. Some characters resign themselves to their doomed fates, while others will do whatever it takes to survive.

I’ve referenced this game in many of my other reviews, most notably, my review of Stein’s Gate (which you can check out here.) The reason for that is because after Kid, the developers of Ever17 and the rest of the series which includes Never7 and Remember 11 (both have been fan-translated) and 12Riven and Code_18,  which to my knowledge have not been translated closed down, many of the staff members joined 5PB (developers of Stein’s Gate).

There are numerous similarities between the two games – both games deal with time travel, both games have the same interface (more or less, Stein’s Gate has the cellphone thing, but other than that, the menu design and especially the Tips section is really similar). But the biggest impression both games leave is a strong scifi mystery regarding time travel which uses true life events, people, theories, and science to create a great sense of immersion. Schrodinger’s Cat, John Titor, Black Holes, etc. I doubt I’m the only person who googled some of these things while playing and became interested in them because of these games.

The same author of Ever17 (and etc.) also wrote the script for 999 9 Persons, 9 Hours, 9 Doors, and Zero Escape, Virtue’s Last Reward (and the sequels).

So if you like any of those “newer” games – please play Ever17 – in my opinion it’s STILL the best out of all of those – in terms especially of story, mystery, and suspense.

If You’re wondering what order to play these games in. This is the proper order: Never7 –> Ever17 –> Remember11 –> 12Riven –> Code18 // Stein’s Gate –> Stein’s Gate 2 (still in development) // 999 9 Persons, 9 Hours, 9 Doors –> Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward –> Zero Time Dilemma (still in development).

Stein’s Gate and 999 are not directly related to Ever17, but they do have spoilers that might deter your enjoyment of Ever17 – especially 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward which are very similar to Ever17. They’re great games, but Ever17 is still better :).

Title: Ever17 The Out of Infinity

Developer: Kid

Publisher: Hirameki International (who are now sadly out of business)

Genre: Visual Novel

Release Date: 2005

Platform: PC (There are numerous other versions, including a 3D version on the Xbox360 – however, none of these ports or remakes have ever made it to North America, despite the surprising success of 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward which you think would cause them to consider bringing this title over. It could perhaps have to do with licensing issues now that Kid and Hirameki are both dissolved. )

Where to Buy: MY GOD!! It’s going for almost $1,000 on Amazon LOL. Or for about $400-600 from other resellers. Now I’m really tempted to sell my copy. But I worry I will want to play it again some day. — Anyways, needless to say, with both KID and Hirameki being out of business, this game is EXTREMELY rare and highly sought after (because it’s awesome). You can keep an eye on this amazon page and see if there are any new listings. http://www.amazon.com/EVER-17 Ebay might also be a good option, it looks like a few recent auctions have gone for around $100-200 (Example from last month: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ever-17)

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 5/5 

Overall: 81 / 90 90% A- “Excellent Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Like most visual novels, you progress through the game by reading an interactive story, choosing how to respond at different points which in turn determine what parts of the story you see or which endings you receive. After completing each character ending, a new option will open up when you next start a new game at the title screen which will let you see the true ending – which is a huge mind fuck in this case – in a good way, but it’s very well worth the effort in doing all the endings and being rewarded by finally being told wtf is going on here – and it’s definitely NOT what you think it is. Really surprising / twist ending – I enjoyed it very much. It ties up every single question you have and is just so satisfying. Unlike the next game in the series, Remember11, which up until the true ending, I was liking it even more than Ever17, and then it just kinda ends with an open ending and you feel ripped off lol. Ever17’s routes are all really well fleshed out and tinged with sadness and mystery. But they resolve all of that mystery with the true ending. It’s awesome.

Gameplay: 6/10 The nature of visual novel games makes gameplay always a bit dull. The gameplay here is spiced up a little bit as you will switch between two different characters (which is a concept they also use in Remember11). And like any good visual novel (but sadly not all visual novels) there is a skip function to bypass previously read text to make multiple playthroughs much easier. There’s no minigames or anything of that nature to break up the “monotonous” gameplay of clicking and reading large blocks of text. However, compared to most novels, Ever17 has a ton of choices, and those choices carry a lot of meaning. As mentioned above, the true ending is also really satisfying, making all of that reading well worth it in the end.

Story: 9/10 I deducted one point because of the notoriously bad translation. It’s not really THAT bad where it detracts from the story or my enjoyment of the game – but it really needed another set of eyes to proofread this thing before it went commercial. There’s fan translations that are higher quality than this (I dunno, there might even be a fan patch for this game, I never looked, because like I said, the translation didn’t bother me that much.)

More importantly, this game’s story is amazing. I’ve mentioned a few times, but it uses real world theories and scientific principles which really helps build immersion and buy-in from the audience. The main theme is time travel – although that’s not readily apparent at first. And I won’t comment on how that comes into play, because that’d be a huge spoiler. All I can say is, if you like time travel games like Stein’s Gate – check this game out.

But at the heart of the story, is humanity struggling against their fate, people’s will to survive, and people’s determination to save their friends, family, and loved ones.

It also has an interesting juxtaposition of a childlike setting (a huge themepark), and the impending doom and oppressive feeling and urgency throughout the game.

Of course, the true ending is really satisfying, you’re left without any burning questions or confusion. It ties everything up into a neat little package with a bow on top for you to unwrap.

Characters: 10/10 The characters begin their “vacation” with such innocence and enthusiasm until they realize their sad fates. The characters slowly begin to change (which is a key sign of character development). Some who were anti-social before and independent, become weak and fearful, others who were innocent and bright become reclusive, almost all of the characters become neurotic, and a few become desperate enough to do anything to survive. It’s interesting to watch their struggle, their cooperation, how they begin to organize and band together to ration their food, lift eachother’s spirits, and search for a way to contact the outside to send help.

There’s also numerous mysteries within the main mystery, ghosts, artificial intelligence, children searching for their parents, amnesia, and more.

Graphics: 8/10 For the time, the graphics are quite beautiful. Keep in mind, this game is now 14 years old (the original Japanese version debuted in 2002). For that, the character style, the backgrounds, and even the 3d animation  (in the opening video) are all very well done. Of course, by today’s standards, with technology like Live 2D and fully fluid moving character sprites (such as those in Ensemble Stars or NekoPara), the artwork, especially of the sprites, is stiff and dated. It’s still quite lovely though. — Interestingly enough, the Xbox360 remake features 3D character art – however, fans have often criticized the new art and prefer the original art of the PC version.

Music: 8/10 I loved the soundtrack in this game – it really helped add to the mystery and suspense, and even desperation that the characters were experiencing.

Voice Acting: 10/10 The voice acting is also another highlight of the game. I hear that they re-recorded all of the voice acting for the 360 version – rather this was to improve it, or due to licensing fees I’m not sure. – But in my opinion, the voice acting within the original PC version was excellent.

Replay Value: 10/10 The true ending is worth all of the work – and each of the routes are really well done. Many times a visual novel will have some routes that are not fleshed out well. But that’s not the case here. I tremendously enjoyed each route, making it almost impossible to pick a favorite. Also even though I’ve beaten it to completion and completed the true ending – I’d still play this game again – because it’s so good. Seriously, just go play this game if you’ve never experienced it.

Overall: 81 / 90 90% A- “Excellent Game For Girls”

Ever17 The Out of Infinity Visual Novel PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie