I didn’t sleep much last night. Hard to sleep on an island full of strangers.
Tom Nook says that today is the day. Today is the day that we are now on synced time. This means that everything that we do is done in real time. Real time? Of course everything is done in real time! I am not sure Nook is up to task on running the island. All in good time though.
Also, I met Bozo (a sports loving nut) and Ms. Put-in-Pockets (a grifter). I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of them, so I’ll put on my best game face.
I’m here, on the island. Running around, gathering sticks, pulling weeds, living like a partially deranged madman. Sure, I guess I could go home. But home would entail mucking it up with a raccoon in order to get my money back and procure transport. Having now seen the bill just to get here, I can’t imagine the small fortune required to get home. Guess I’ll just stick out… for now.
I feel like I’ve been all over the map this month. July 2020 has been all about:
Turning 39 year old / celebrating my birthday
Playing all the games
Continuing to read Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer (70%)
As part of my reading through the Bible in a year plan, I read/finished: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Ecclesiastes, Titus, Philemon, and Jude
And a sinus infection that won’t go away
Tabitha and Wyatt bought me Paper Mario: The Origami King for my birthday. So most of my gaming time has been spent working my way through an origami world with Mario. I’m loving the tight writing and unexpected moments of pure Nintendo delight.
Wyatt and I have been playing Injustice: Gods Among Us a bunch. Nothing like Superman kicking the snot out of Superman.
With some of my birthday money, I picked up:
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
I should note that Paper Mario has been consuming my gaming time, so I haven’t given much time to the above games. Soon though.
As a family, we have played a bunch of Throw Throw Burrito (think of the classic game Spoons but with a burrito war/fighting element where you chuck a burrito at fellow players. This game is super fun!
We also had a chance to sit down and play Disney Villainous, which I also got for my birthday. I like how you have your own character board/objective to complete while you also get to mess with fellow villains. Tab beat Wyatt and I with the Queen of Hearts (Wyatt played Captain Hook; I played Prince John). I can’t wait to play again.
My biggest project of all, this month, has been replacing all of the interior doors in the house. After this past weekend, I’m down to 4 doors needing to be replaced.
This week, I picked up the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch. Tab and I love this courtroom drama series filled with over the top characters and entertaining word play. We decided to start with the second game in the trilogy, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, as Tabitha had already completed the first game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Nintendo DS), long ago.
Last night, we completed Episode 1: The Lost Turnabout.
Note how the witness reacts when accused. Nothing abnormal to report here.
This first episode turned out to be a sad story of someone being killed just because of their uniform. Spoilers. 🙂
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, developed by Taito, is a game all about dragons! Bubble blowing dragons, that is. Whether playing in single player mode or couch co-op (up to 4 players), players navigate their cute dragons through a series of stages that feature:
Bubble Combat – As a bubble spewing dragon, you can trap your enemies in bubbles. Said bubbles can then be popped in an effort to gain combos, which increase your score.
Bubble Platforming – Why use bubbles just to trap enemies when you can use them to reach new heights? Bubble Bobble 4 Friends allows you to create your own bubble platforms, which your dragon can use to float upon.
E-X-T-E-N-D Bubbles – While traversing stages, you can collect lettered E-X-T-E-N-D bubbles individually. Acquired letters grant your dragon upgraded bubble powers such as lightning and bomb bubbles.
Controls are simple and easy to use.
Being able to create a bubble to ride on, bubble platforming, is a neat gameplay mechanic.
The decision to create a couch co-op game, where players share a single life pool. As a father who plays games with his son, I can say that life sharing is a massive no-no in a multiplayer game. Thankfully, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends overcomes this bit of ugly design with unlimited continues. The catch though is that if you decide to continue, you will lose all points earned up until that point in the game. This is not a game killer, for me, but could be for the casual audience this game seems to be aiming for.
Note: Wyatt reminds me that invincibility also becomes an option when you’ve died too many times against enemies/bosses.
Anytime a player gets hit, they are put into a bubble and their dragon starts crying out for help, “Help me!” This cry drove Wyatt and I nuts! I am thankful that the developers thought to include a way to turn down the voices in the options menu.
Length of game versus game’s cost seem at odds with each other. However, a downloadable content expansion will be released later this year that could help with game length.
Once upon a time…
…there were dragons. Cute, cuddly, dragons who threw up bubbles from their mouths. They didn’t lick things like a Yoshi. Instead, they captured/tortured their enemies with clean, clear, bubbles. The End.
Wait, I mean, this is not the end. But in the end, Wyatt and I played quite a bit of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends. The entire time we were playing, we kept thinking the game reminded us of a Kirby game. Maybe it has something to do with the overall design aesthetic? I am not sure. But for us, we couldn’t get past comparing Bubble Bobble 4 Friends to Kirby Star Allies (see our review here). You see, we’d much rather be playing Kirby Star Allies.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends isn’t necessarily a bad game but an okay game. One we both agree we won’t be playing any further. Good night and goodbye sweet dragons.
3/5 – While we love the unique bubble platforming mechanic, we believe there are better co-op games to play than Bubble Bobble 4 Friends.
THE END FOR REAL!!
Title:Bubble Bobble 4 Friends* Developer: Taito Platform: Nintendo Switch Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch MSRP: $39.99
Review by Bryan and Wyatt Hall
*Bubble Bobble 4 Friends was reviewed using a code provided by PR Hound.
Hidden Through Time, developed by Crazy Monkey Studios, is a game about finding things. The levels progress through different periods of time such as:
The Stone Age
The Middle Ages
The Wild West
Players hunt down objects, with the help of subtle clues, in order to move forward in history.
We recently had grandma and grandpa over to visit. While they were over, we decided to play Hidden Through Time together. Sitting around the television, we hunted objects through not just one but eleven levels. Grandma was super good at finding things. Who knew?!? By the time we were done, she said that she really liked the game.
Wyatt also enjoyed using the level editor (see video below). He says:
“Just say that I liked it… that it was good… that it was awesome!”
He notes that the object placement could be better when duplicating the same object. For example: A player goes to place a tree. Hidden Through Time allows you to place one tree and then forces you to go back to the object toolbar to select another tree before placing.
Wyatt and I also liked:
The hand-drawn design aesthetic.
The levels being in color, unlike Hidden Folks (which we’ve played on iOS).
How the controls feel dialed in, making movement around the map and the ability to zoom in and out a breeze.
The gibberish language the characters speak when poked.
How well Hidden Through Time plays in a group.
Object hints, at times, do not make sense.
Size of objects often makes them harder to find than they should be—I hate eggs!—.
Load times between the main menu screen, level selection screen, and individual levels can take a few moments.
Hidden Through Time needs an overall hint system for those times when you are super stuck. This is more of a suggestion than a game destroying experience. We, as a family, haven’t gotten stuck in-game yet.
Wyatt and I have enjoyed our time with Hidden Through Time. This is a perfect game to play individually and as a family. The music is relaxing and does not annoy—as a parent, this is important—. We recommend this game to others looking for a digital Where’s Waldo experience.
5/5 – A great game to play as a family or while hidden away in the bathroom.Seriously, just go hide in there, the kids don’t have to know!
Title:Hidden Through Time Developer: Crazy Monkey Studios Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, Xbox One, Windows, and iOS Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 MSRP: $7.99
Review by Bryan and Wyatt Hall
*Hidden Through Time was reviewed using a code provided by EvolvePR.
This looks fantastic! An adventure with Aloy (Ashly Burch), some doggos, and the wilds of Alaska. Check out the trailer below.
All I can say is if a bear does indeed try and touch one of my dogs, my fury will come forth as a raging volcano. A fury that will not just end with one bear’s death, but all the bears deaths… for all time.
Last November, Tabitha and I were struggling through the Fortnite craze with Wyatt. At the time, I penned a blog post that opened with this:
“I feel caught between being a parent and a gamer. Caught between my son loving Fortnite and me seeing the game for what it is, exploitative. I find myself fighting the urge to erase the game from my house. To pretend that Fortnite does not exist and funnel Wyatt towards games that are not built upon:
The addictive free-to-play foundations of games such as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans. Games that are built to encourage consumers to spend real life money to advance/keep playing. Pay-to-win, children!
Female characters designed to be objectified/sexual eye candy.
A non-stop gameplay loop.
An in-game store that creates an artificial need to buy skins (think: clothing/costumes) and items that will expire within an arbitrary time limit.
I can feel my parents surging within me, screaming, “JUST PULL THE PLUG!” But I’m trying to push through that deep rooted feeling. I’m trying to like Fortnite for my son; I’m trying to parent through it.”
I wrote much more than what I’m sharing above. The Fortnite post was up, on this site, for a couple of hours until I removed it. Not that I disagreed with anything that I had written, but I realized that the game had changed.
There comes a point, in parenting, where you need to work through things on your own. I realized that I was painting myself, as a parent, into a corner. Failing to realize:
That my attitude towards Fornite might change in the future.
That one day Wyatt might discover my blog and read what I have written about him.
That I want to be careful with how I represent my son online.
That some things are best worked out as a family. Privately.
Yes, we struggled as a family through Fortnite. I know many of you did. But me writing that unpublished blog post made me re-think how I blog about myself and my family. Not everything that happens in our homes, with our kids, needs to end up online.
I don’t know about you, but I have been all over the place with video games as of late. Bouncing between:
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Wolfenstein II – The New Colossus
Horizon Zero Dawn
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
I’ll race through a cup in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and then play a level or two in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Following that up with a couple hours of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and then a level of SteamWorld Heist. I feel like a kid at a buffet who keeps dashing between food items… and deep down I know that I just want to get a single plate of corn fritters (deep-fried cream-corn goodness).
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Wolfenstein II – The New Colossus, and Horizon Zero Dawn all equal games that require time to get into the games head-space; time to feel out the game’s rhythms and core gameplay loop. I have found myself attracted lately to games that can be played in quick bursts. Racing a cup (4 races) in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes 10-15 minutes, count me in! Destroying Wyatt in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (more likely the other way around), I’m there!
Gets me thinking about the larger list of games I have laying around, waiting to be continued. Games such as:
God of War – I played for a few hours and liked what I played.
Anthem – Picked up for $5. Played the first mission. It’s okay.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Have sunk at least 10 hours into.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Have sunk 15-20 hours into the game only to realize I need to stop and level up a bunch to progress.
Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition – Wyatt and I have played towards the end of the second act and then quit. This game is dark, ya’ll! Even worse, boring?
Hollow Knight – Have put in some time on this game… I keep getting lost… but I love the atmosphere.
Ori and the Blind Forest – Same as Hollow Knight, I get lost which equals frustration.
So many games… so many worlds… so many play styles… so many experiences waiting to be had. But, right now, I keep gravitating towards the games that allow me the maximum amount of gameplay for my time. I’m not looking for deep video game experiences. But I would love to settle down with a plate of corn fritters soon.. and maybe Ni No Kuni II… and Destiny 2: Forsaken… does it end?
How about you, do you ever feel like you are bouncing from one game experience to the next?
I am in no way organized when it comes to cataloging which games I own let alone those I have completed. Below is my attempt to create a list of games released within the last decade that I have finished:
The release of Pokémon Sword & Shield today, on the Nintendo Switch, marks an end of an era for my son Wyatt and I.
We first started playing Pokémon games together with the release of Pokémon X & Y–he had to have been in kindergarten, although I’m thinking more first grade.–. Armed with our 3DS systems, we’d encourage and compete against each other while playing through our separate games. Spending evenings battling each other to see who had the strongest Pokémon. I’d like to say that I won most of those matches, but I’d be lying. Wyatt is one tough Pokémon Trainer to beat.
I’ve been playing the Pokémon games since the original Pokémon Red & Blue debuted in the United States in 1998–crazy to think that I’ve been playing the same series for over two decades!–. I have owned and put time into:
Across all of those hours spent catching Pokémon, I somehow never managed to complete a single game. Playing with Wyatt gave me the competitive edge I needed to push through. Pokémon Y was my first Pokémon game to see through to the credits. I thank my son for the accomplishment of FINALLY finishing a Pokémon game. All I wanted to do was crush a little boy’s dreams by finishing the game first, typical dad stuff, right? (Wyatt won, btw.)
We moved on and battled through Pokémon Sun & Moon. At some point, hours upon hours into the game, I gave up. Wyatt went ahead and finished the game. He then completed the follow up, Pokémon Ultra Sun, by himself. We still battled in the evenings. Nothing like Pokémon fighting between a father and son.
With the release of Pokémon Sword & Shield, Nintendo has shifted the main series from the 3DS to the Nintendo Switch. In our house, we have a single Nintendo Switch console. I think that it is silly to buy another system just for the privilege of being able to play a Pokémon game. I will miss the memories and competition between Wyatt, our Pokémon, and I. Never forgetting the lesson that:
Kids have a ton of more time to play video games than a working adult. Never compete against a kid when time is required, Bryan, you’ll lose!
Coming to the end here, I am reminded of how long I’ve been playing video games with Wyatt. How I only have 8 years left with him until he graduates from high school… I hope we continue to play games together in some fashion; I can’t wait to show and introduce him to more.