Wytches Brew: Review

I haven’t played through this Wytches Brew by NotSoft Games completely, but I’ve progressed far enough to surmise that this game is awesome.

It’s incredibly addictive.  If you just play the standard “Brew” option, you’ll find plenty of opportunity for improving your score.  This is fun enough, but the even more addicting part of the game is the story mode.  You play as three wytches who are wandering the countryside to find out where the Grey Brothers went.  They help people by brewing different potions.

The game is like Bejeweled in that you move the flowers (jewels) around the board.  The difference is that you can sacrifice some of your “candle wax” (life) and move the flowers farther around on the board, as opposed to only adjacent ones.

You have a cookbook to guide you.  Once you figure out what flowers go in what combination in what order, the game goes from being slightly confusing to seriously addicting.

I’m about a third of the way through the story mode, and I’m loving it.  This game is fun and complex, but simple enough to pick up quickly.

It’s kind of frustrating when the wytches throw more flowers out onto the board and it creates a 3-in-a-row that messes up your recipe!  Frustrating, but you still get points!

Another mechanic that makes the game a little harder is your cauldron at the bottom of the screen.  If you try to fill it up too much, it will overflow and your game will be over!  So, you have to keep your eye on your candles, your cauldron, and the flowers that you’re trying to match up.

How about some screenshots?

Wytches Brew 4

This is the start screen.  If you pick “brew”, you can play the standard matching game with no story and try to rack up as many points as you can.

Wytches Brew 2

This is the screen you get when you pick “quest”.

Wytches Brew 1

A story screen.  The models aren’t anything to be excited about, but this is a puzzle game.  There also don’t seem to be any consequences for messing up in the puzzle play; if people don’t get their potions, they’re disappointed, but not pissed off.

Wytches Brew 3

The game board screen.  This is where all of the gameplay happens.  You can see the flowers on the board.  Each wytch has a section of the board, and if you move the flowers around too much, you have bits of your candles melt.  The cauldron is on the bottom, and that’s where the flowers go when you line up three or more.  If you try to stuff too much into the cauldron, it’ll overflow, ending the game.  If your candles burn down completely, your game will end.  The box to the left of the cauldron is your cookbook.  I don’t have any recipes up on there, but you have to get the flowers in the right order.

See some official screenshots here.

I got the game for free through this offer.  It’s a very solid game, and for free, it’s even more awesome.

I guess I’ll get to a rating.  Overall, I’d say this is a 4/5.  The story mode is interesting enough to keep you going, so that’s a 4/5; the gameplay is addictive, so that’s a 5/5; and the graphics are fine for what you need them for, a 3.5/5.  The models of the wytches and other people are kind of goofy looking and they’re not animated, but for a puzzle game, kick-ass models aren’t really expected.

This is a great game; go out and get it and give it a whirl.  It’s very addictive and free ‘til January.

Patapon

I got a new PSP game.

Patapon is a PSP rhythm game.  The game is simple enough; you follow the marching and attack drum beats to make your patapons move and attack enemies.  I’m only on the third level, so I don’t have a very comprehensive view of the game, but so far it’s fun.

Summary of the story from wikipedia:

“The Patapon were a flourishing people until they were defeated by the Zigoton Empire. The player takes the role of their god and uses sacred war drums to direct the Patapon tribe to take back their land. As the story progresses, the Patapon also embark on a journey to Earthend to look upon “IT,” a sacred object whose appearance and purpose is unknown to the tribe. The enemy of the Patapon tribe is the evil Zigoton Empire, a powerful tribe of slightly squarish creatures with red-and-black eyes (as opposed to the white-and-black-eyed Patapon) that have oppressed the Patapon since their fall from power. After fighting various battles against the Zigotons, guardian creatures such as dragons, giant worms, golems, and the ultimate evil known as Gorl, the Patapon come to the coast, and see the rising sun, which they assume to be “IT”. However, unfulfilled by the anticlimactic end of their journey, they come to the conclusion that “IT” is, in fact, not the sun and to realize their destiny, they must cross the ocean to the real Earthend and continue their quest. The final scene shows the Patapon and Zigoton tribes working together to build an ark to cross the ocean.”

I quite like this game… It’s different from anything I’ve ever played.

We’ll see how difficult it gets!

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Nintendo DS vs. PSP

I know this has probably been done before, but I have my own take on the DS vs. PSP debate.  I will be talking about the PSP 3000 and the DS Lite.  Let’s go right to it.

Nintendo DS

The first thing that you will notice about the DS is the dual screens, one of which is a touch screen (like a PDA or iPhone).  This, in itself, is a brilliant move by Nintendo; allowing extra interaction with the game.  Also, it allows for some different types of games.

Startup is fast.  The games are on what looks like flash carts like you’d use in a camera.  This allows for fast startup and also has memory on them to save your games, eliminating the need for an extra storage slot.

The games are varied, and include all manner of brain-training games, as well as traditional Nintendo fare: New Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Zelda, etc.  Also there are new games like the Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time and Princess Peach that use the classic Nintendo characters.  One of my favorites is the Phoenix Wright series where you play a lawyer and try to solve cases.

The only disadvantages to the DS I can see are the fact that many of the games are targeted to kids; the touch screen can get smudged easily (with fingerprints), and there are reports of hinge breakage.  I have not had hinge breakage as of yet, but I’m very careful with my stuff.  Nintendo games/consoles seem to be built very solidly anyway.

Sony PSP

The PSP is billed as an “entertainment device” and that’s a great description.  The PSP has one screen, the familiar Playstation controls (even a small analog stick), a place for headphones/mic, a slot for extra memory, and a door on the back that holds the UMD discs.

Sony has tried to push it’s UMD movies.  This was a dismal failure, as the movies are expensive, and in the earlier versions of the PSP, not able to be shown on a television.  It’s good for people who want to watch movies “on the go” but why not get a portable DVD player?  You can watch what you have and not have to reinvest in a different format.  But I digress…

The games for this unit are very sharp.  The graphics are nice, the sound is great, and the gameplay is fun.  My favorite so far is Tony Hawk’s Project 8.  Ratchet and Clank is a fun game as well.  Like any system, you have to find games you like; I recommend renting, if there’s a place you can rent from (Family Video is awesome).

The screen is larger than the one of the DS’s screens.  The games are more graphics-intensive and they look very pretty on the PSP’s screen.

For all this beauty, there is a downside, and that is: speed.  From start-up to game play, it can take up to two minutes of waiting for the UMD to spin up and the game to load.  Also, you will need an extra memory stick.  This memory stick is (of course) special to Sony PSP, so you can’t just use a camera card.

~~~

Both of these systems are good.  Both are fun.  It depends on what you like to play and if graphics are important to you.

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PSP

I got a PSP!

Well, maybe not the smartest purchase I’ve made recently, but I do love it.

I got the silver one (as you can see) and it came with the following game:

This game is FUN.  It’s insane.

I got the bundle.  Came with the game, the system, National Treasure 2 and a gig UMD stick.  I also picked up FIFA09.  While fun, it’s kinda difficult.  I’m thinking about a hockey game for my next purchase.  I’m going to see if I can get it used.  Used games are usually cheaper than the new ones… and I’m not too picky.  I prefer used systems to new, but sometimes you can’t go wrong with a system kit for $200.

Seriously.  Now is the perfect time to pick up a PSP if you want it.  There are 2 packs out: the Ratchet and Clank one and a Madden 2009.  If you’re into football, that one is blue.  I almost got that one, but they didn’t have it at Walmart (I had a $50 giftcard; thank you GM Car Group).

Anyway, I really like this system.  But don’t think I’m giving up my DS.  Oh no.  The DS is still very close to my heart.  I love my DS.  It’s perfect for gaming on the go, with a range of titles that can be played for a short while.  Perfect for waiting in line (remnd me to have that thing with me when I go to the DMV or unemplyment office!).

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Nintendo DS Games

An addiction.

No, really!  I ended up getting three more games today:

Assassin’s Creed
Mario and Luigi, Partners in Time
Hotel Dusk, Room 215

Let’s run through them, shall we?

Assassin’s Creed

Fun and challenging.  Not easy, by any means.  You are an assassin, living by your sword and your wits.  Killing things is a main objective, but sneaking around and getting information as well as valuables from other characters is important as well.  You use the touch screen to steal stuff as well as impart some torture on your enemies. Not easy…

The sound is incredible.  The music is tight and makes the mood intense.

Rating: T for teen.  Definitely deserved, especially for the difficulty and the killing.  No blood though.  I give it a 4.5/5.

Mario and Luigi, Partners in Time

I wanted this game for so long and ended up finding it today.  It is totally awesome.  You play as Mario and Luigi, as well as the babies in this game.  You control them easily enough with the A, B, X and Y buttons, with the D-pad as movement.  This one is easier than Assassin’s Creed, but still happily difficult.  I like the combat setup; it’s similar to Pokemon in that you stop and have combat.  This is definitely more enjoyable than the other Mario games.

Rating: E for everyone.  Good for kids to play and fun for anyone.  I give it a 5/5 so far.

Hotel Dusk, Room 215

This is an adventure game where you do a lot of reading and going through screens.  It’s not action-heavy at all, but sometimes you want a game like that.  Anyway, you play a door-to-door salesman who is a former cop and you’re looking for your ex-partner.  I’m not very far in this, but so far it’s looking good, with amazing music and sound.

Rating: T for teen.  Very well deserved, considering the subject matter.  It could have been made edgier and given an M rating easy.  Either way, it’s fun and absorbing.  I give it a 4.7/5.

Gamestop/Software Etc./Babbages/whatever shouldn’t have those “buy 2 get 1 free” sales.  I spend too much money that way…

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Crimson DSLite

I upgraded my DS to the following:

The Crimson and Black DSLite is everything you could want it to be.  I particularly like the matte black finish on the black part of this DSLite.  It doesn’t pick up fingerprints as easily.

I’m exceedingly happy.  I usually don’t buy stuff, but I’ve been thinking about getting a new one with the brighter screens and whatnot.  i like having more choice when it comes to brightness of my screens other than “backlight off” or backlight on”.

It is quite pretty.  I’m happy with it so far.

Oh, and Circuit City had an unadvertised deal… buy the DSLite and get a free (FREE!!!) game case.  So, now I have a game case that holds 6 games.  I opted for the Zelda one (not a huge fan of pink, although it was Princess Peach…).

Anyway… the system wasn’t that bad of a price ($130; I mean, for such a sweet piece of hardware…) and the free game case just made things better.

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Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations…

Has arrived!!!!

I swore I picked the cheapest shipping for this game… but it arrived TODAY!!!!  It shipped YESTERDAY!!!

I got the package about 3 or so today… UPS rings our doorbell and I pick up the package.  I wasn’t expecting this til NEXT WEEK.  Sweetness!

I’m looking forward to playing it.  I’m also gonna send the plushie I got with it to wolfself.  I’m collecting a bunch of stuff to send to her… I’m trying to save on postage.

:)

I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself.

*happydance*

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney; Justice for All

Justice for All is similar to the previous Phoenix Wright game.  It’s second in the series, and carries many of the same elements over from the first.  My previous post reviews the first one.

You, again, are Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney.  The game starts out with you in your office, listening to a cell phone ring.  This is the start of your case.

Your first case is to represent a police officer who’s boyfriend (also a police officer) was murdered.  She is accused of committing said murder and the evidence looks really damning against her.  This (like your other first case in the first game) is a tutorial.  You learn how to question witnesses, present evidence, press witnesses and win cases!

I’m at the point in this game where I’m investigating the second case.  I don’t want to divulge too much about it, as I’m not very far.

Anyway, in this game, Mystic Pearl (Maya’s cousin) gives you a stone which can be used to identify “psych-locks” on people.  They hold these facts close to their hearts and you need to break the locks to find out the information.  You do this in the same way you press witnesses and present evidence in the courtroom.  The hardest part is figuring out which evidence to present to the person you are questioning.

This game is just as fun as the first one.

Bottom Line: 4.8/5, only for the frustration factor with the psych-locks.  I’ve run into a couple road blocks with it.  Rated T for Teen; blood, mild violence and suggestive themes.  Again, I’d give this game to someone who’s 14 or older.  If they’re mature enough to watch CSI, then this game should be safe for them.

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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I have been following the reviews and buzz about the Phoenix Wright games and ended up picking up the second in the series (Justice for All) first.  Well, I decided to go back and get the first one and play through it first.

Anyway, this game is awesome.  Totally different from other games, with a point-and-click style that lends itself well to the DS.  It uses the touch screen well, and is high on the courtroom drama.

Phoenix Wright is a lawyer who has just graduated from law school and is working at the Fey & Co Law Firm.  He starts out defending a murder suspect (his best friend, Larry Butz).  This is sort of a tutorial case, as you learn how to present evidence, question witnesses, press witnesses and interact with the judge, prosecutor and witness.

Once that case is completed (and your buddy is freed), things take a turn for the worse.  Mia Fey, your mentor, is murdered!  And to make things worse, her sister, Maya Fey, is accused of the crime!  So, you have to investigate.  You start out by talking to witnesses and gathering evidence.  Things are never as they seem, so you need to press people to get anywhere.

Right now, I am at the point where Phoenix is actually on trial.  I pressed the room-service guy at the hotel (play the game to understand more!) and Phoenix was accused of the murder!  Which, of course, Phoenix doesn’t commit.  Now, I have to get him out of this jam.

This game is lots of fun.  It challenges your mental capacity, your quick wits, and your courage.  You need to believe in your clients to prove them not guilty and you need to believe in yourself.

Bottom Line: 5/5; Rated T for Teen, for blood, language, suggestive themes and violence.  I’d say it’s appropriate for someone 14 and older.  If they’re mature enough to watch CSI, then they’re mature enough to play this game.

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Pokemon Pearl Review

I got Pokemon Pearl for my birthday last weekend.  I had read some good reviews of it, and decided that the Pokemon franchise is something that “adults” can enjoy as much as kids.  I’ve only just started it (I’m in the process of getting my third badge) but so far, it is almost more engaging than the first game in the series.

Side note:  I played the first game(s) in the series (Red and my brother had Blue; we both had Yellow).  I got away from the series because it just wasn’t “cool” anymore.  I was in the end of high school, and Pokemon was something for middle schoolers.

Back on track now.  It’s almost more engaging than the first set.  I like the way the touch screen is used in this game, because it’s easier to pick and choose the stuff you want to do in battle.  It’s all out for you to see.  In the first series (Gameboy and GB Color) you didn’t have everything as accessible as you do now. 

You start out as a young person (I’d say a teenager; about 15 or so).  You can choose to be a boy or a girl (I picked girl), pick your name, and then start the game!

From the manual:

Object of the Game

  • The Sinnoh region is filled with many strange and mysterious wonders.  You adventure will mature you as a trainer and have you cross paths with many people.  Only with the help of friends and the cooperation of your Pokemon, will you be able to complete this daring adventure.
  • Your coal is to complete your Pokedex by collecting lots of different kinds of Pokemon.  When you cathc a Pokemon, its data will automatically be recorded in your Pokedex.  Visit Professor Rowan every once in a while to have him rate how complete your Pokedex is.  In order to catch all the Pokemon in the Sinnoh region, you must trade with the Diamond version.  Work together with your friends to get your Pokedexs as complete as possible.
  • Another goal is to improve your skills as a Pokemon Trainer.  During your adventures, you’ll battle wild Pokemon, as well as other Trainers.  Both types of battles will help you and your Pokemon become stronger.  There are also Pokemon Gyms in the Sinnoh region, each of which as a very talented Trainer known as the Gym Leader.  Only those who defeat the Gym Leaders will be accepted as true Trainers.  It will be a tough fight, but you must be brave and charge into battle!

I am challenging the third badge right now.  I am just outside of Hearthome City (where the third Gym Leader and Badge is) and have already worked through the Pokemon Tower.

My team is as follows:

  1. Staravia, level 24; Normal/Flying; Moves: Whrilwind, Pluck, Quick Attack, Wing Attack
  2. Prinplup, Level 24 (evolved Piplup; my starting Pokemon); Water; Moves: Peck, BubbleBeam, Bubble, Metal Claw
  3. Psyduck, Level 20; Water; Moves: Confusion, Scratch, Disable, Water Gun
  4. Luxio, Level 21; Electric; Moves: Spark, Strength, Bite, Charge
  5. Budew, Level 20; Grass/Poison; Moves: Mega Drain, Bullet Seed, Cut, Grass Knot
  6. Pachirisu, Level 22; Electric; Moves: Growl, Swift, Quick Attack, Spark

As you can see, I have a pretty good team.  The only ones I’m missing are some fire Pokemon (and I just caught a Ponyta), a rock Pokemon (and I have a low-level Geodude), ice (which comes later) and ghost/cloud-like.  I want a good balanced group so I can take on any foe.  Also, I’ve been training my team equally.  This helps, so you don’t have one or two Pokemon that are high level (like 30 or something) and most of the rest around 10.

Tips:

  • Like I said above, you want a well-rounded team.  Don’t have all Rock-type or something.  There is always a weakness in different type Pokemon (Rock is weak against Water, for instance).
  • Travel EVERYWHERE.  There are loads of things to pick up, from extra Pokeballs to TMs, HMs, healers, berries, and even special stuff hidden around.  You may have to go through some trainers to get there, but it’s worth it.
  • Challenge everyone!  This is a must if you want your Pokemon to grow.  They grow through battling other trainers and wild Pokemon.  You gain more EXP when you battle trainers; but the battle is usually harder than a wild Pokemon of the same species.
  • If you get an EXP Share, use it!  That’s how I got Pachirisu, Luxio, Psyduck and Budew to their current levels.  I also did the same thing with a Shellos, and now it’s at 16 or some such.  (He’s stored in the computer.)  This is an easy way to level up a weak Pokemon, without fighting it.
  • Another way to level up a weak Pokemon is to have him/her at the top of the list to go out.  Then, switch out to a higher level member of your team.  This way, the weak one will get some experience and be able to level up without getting hit (usually).
  • The bike is a fast way to get around.  Use it until you get Fly.
  • You can register Key Items for quick use with button Y.  I usually have either the map or the bike in that slot, but you pick up other stuff you can set there (Explorer’s set, etc).

Now, I’m nowhere near done with the game just yet, but it’s incredibly engaging.  The game has many aspects of RPGs and it holds interest for many different groups that don’t normally play Pokemon or the DS.

Bottom line: 5/5; Rated E for Everyone, but I’d give it to a young person about 8 and up.  It can be frustrating for younger kids. 

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The DS roXXorz my soXXorz!!

No really!

The DS is probably one of the best designs for a game system to come along since the GameBoy (and I had a GameBoy, GB Color, and I have a GBA SP).

The DS I got is blue (w00t!) and it came with Animal Crossing: Wild World.  I also got Mario Kart DS (ref. post below!) which is an awesome game as well.  I have an “original” DS, which means it’s not the DS Lite, but that’s ok.  The DS Lite (DSL) sounds nice, but I do like the one I have.  Anyway, it’s blue!  :)  It was also the last one in Saginaw (according to my mother).

Ok.  Animal Crossing: Wild World (AC:WW) is an awesome game!  It sucks you in, kind of like The Sims.  You start out and move into a town and then have to make enough money to pay off your loan (20,000 bells, yipe!) you got from the store owner, Tom Nook.  To do that, you start out by being a messege boy (or girl) for Nook.  You introduce yourself to everyone in the town, do some planting, send a letter, do a couple deliveries, and post a messege on the bulletin board.  It’s all really easy stuff, and you get paid for it (1,400 bells).  To make more money, you can collect shells and apples and sell them to Tom.  You can also check the lost and found box for anything that looks good.  Even the trash (!) is a good place to find stuff (I found a blue bench there and sold it for about 400 bells!).  Shaking trees is a good way to find money or stuff.  You have to be careful though, because some bees make a home in trees (a different one each day) and you can get stung.  You have to take medicine you get from the store to get better.

Mario Kart DS (MKDS) is an awesome game as well.  If you’re familiar with the Mario Kart games for the Nintendo franchise, it’s more of the same but with a slight twist.  You choose a character and a kart and start racing.  Some of the tracks are new, and some of the tracks are “vintage”.  You can race tracks from the first Mario Kart (SNES) all the way up to the most recent one (GC).  I quite like the “vintage” tracks, as well as the new ones.  Many of them are slightly difficult, but that’s totally fine with me!

Off to play more AC:WW!!