Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Meimei Cup - Achievement Run

Welcome to Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday! Sit back and either watch me play through, with no commentary, the cup or leave it running in the background as BGM!

I play and earn all the achievements from The Meimei Cup! (2023/6/26 9:00~2023/7/3 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

I played against fewer other players this week so, for me, it wasn't as exciting as in recent weeks. But it was successful as i managed to get all the achievements in 6 games. this means that i finished in the top 3 each time. i did get to the boss many times but i was unable to beat it.

This week i played against:
すちこ - Rank 66
ほれぉ~ Rank 75

Monday, June 26, 2023

Cloud Monday - Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness - More PlayStation Plus Premium Perfect Streaming

Today's Cloud Monday is part 2 of playing Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness on my launch Japanese PS4 via the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service.

In the first video, https://youtu.be/4acBC6x5XXI, as well as enjoying the game i would go so far as to say the streaming experience from PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming was perfect. it had been a while since i played a game with little to no streaming issues so at the time there was a sense of relief, too.

This second video continues that trend. once again i noticed no issues streaming the game and, in both videos, there were moments when i forgot that i was playing this PS3 game on a PS4 as i was so engrossed in playing it. 

It's a hard game, but if it's a style of RPG or if you're a fan of the series, there is a way to play the game just like you had the disc. unfortunately in this video i forgot to do the speed test, but over both days playing the game i'm comfortable in saying that it's one of the highlights i've had streaming games from PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Service.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Switch Funday - Harvest Moon - My Second Time – It Went Much Better

Welcome to Switch Funday!

Last week i played Harvest Moon for the first time, https://youtu.be/De1aItAfPFk, and it didn't go well. This week i tried it again, having learnt from my mistakes in the hope of making progress and having a better experience. To be honest, that didn't really happen.

By about 20 or 30 minutes into the second video, i had already gotten further than i did in the previous video. but in terms of story, i don't feel like i made any extra progress. i did have a greater understanding of the mechanics, i explored a new area and learnt more about building extensions, and i finally managed to harvest grass. But even after an hour, i still didn't have enough grass for animals, and in some respects my farm was beginning to look worse than when i arrived. i had noticed that the wooden walls around the farm had begun to deteriorate. 

So whilst this attempt at playing Harvest Moon did go better than my first attempt, and i'm happy things went better the second time round. i'm also disappointed that nothing really came of it. i'm starting to think that it's more the game's fault than mine. that maybe the game has a really slow start. i get the feeling that the game is wide open and is expecting us to go and explore rather than offer guidance.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Switch Funday - Warface - The First Hour With Team Deathmatch

For Online Saturday this week i tried out Warface for the first time. With there being soo many game modes to choose from, i decided to focus on something familiar and played Team Deathmatch for an hour.

Going into this, i knew nothing about the game. it wasn't until after i had played it that i learned that it's been out quite a while. Obviously it will have changed along the way, but it's still impressive that a game as old as this has retained enough players to keep being updated and to keep being brought to new platforms. But it also means the developers behind it know what they're doing and it showed. this was one of the better online experiences i've had as a new player. More so when you compare it to last weeks Trackmania video, https://youtu.be/we766gY1WPw. the experience for first time players was soo rough, that i couldn't recommend it.

One of the key ways in which Warface was so approachable was that it starts with a tutorial. It's not too big and full of too many new things either. it focuses on two classes and uses in-game action. at every step, everything was clearly highlighted and the text prompts were simple and easy to follow. the main screen does look a little dated and is clearly not designed for consoles. my guess is it's the same screen across all platforms. but it works because only one of them options is playing the game and it's clear and simple "Play". 

Going into play, again whilst looking a bit dated, you're greeted by all the game modes divided into three sections, Co-op, Spec Ops, and Versus. whilst these may not be that clear to everyone, what i really do appreciate is that there's a little bit of text explaining what's happening. so Spec Ops was a mode i didn't know what it could be, but after reading the text and looking at the images i understood that i was playing a mission that would have maybe 4 stages, maybe 5, and that they take time. that's soo much more information that Trackmania. and this applied to Versus, too. There are 8 modes but when you move the cursor to one it clearly says what's going to happen. Great.

That's not to say the game doesn't have it's own quirks and issues. the bottom of the screen is a mess and never clearly explained. there are 3 currencies down there, bonuses, and mail. A lot of these screens are dark, the text is often small to very small, to the point where i wonder how legible it is if you played the Switch handheld. Whilst the game is keen to move onto the next game, i feel like there's not enough time given to the player to change class and then there's soo much time given to loading that could be better hidden. the load times are rough in this game. it took around a minute and a half or more to just get to the main screen after clicking start on the icon on the Switch home screen.

It's age could be one reason why the game felt a little old school. and i don't mean that in a negative way. i've tried many newer online shooters and not really enjoyed any of them. so coming to a game that felt old, but in a familiar way, was actually refreshing and Warface actually felt easier to pick up and play. the classes were clearly different, the maps were smaller, respawn times were fast, and the action was frantic. This did mean that in Team Deathmatch the medic class did feel a little useless as people died too quickly and when they did they didn't hang around to be revied. Maybe it'll work better in a different mode. And with the game being as old as it is, at times it felt like i was playing against people who knew all the best places to attack from. the game says that it's trying to balance the teams but it became clear that this didn't mean all new people were together and all veterans were together, this game tries to make teams featuring both.

There was a lot i didn't get to see so i won't be deleting the game. i think i'll come back later and try out some of the other game modes. It's free to play and i do recommend it. More so to players familiar with online shooters during the PS3/360 Generation, but also for those looking for something less serious than Modern Warfare.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Mobile Friday - Miracle Merchant - As Good as it is, I’m Left Wanting More

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Miracle Merchant by TiNYTOUCHTALES. It's not a new game and it's out across the iOS app store and android.

I've seen the app icon on the store for a while but only recently downloaded it. but i didn't really know much about it other than it was a card game.  i think i saw it mentioned it was a solitaire style game, but i don't think that's quite accurate enough to describe it. It's more a card matching game. you need to match cards to what the customer needs, but also to what the cards themselves need.

It can sound a little complicated and after some of the games i've played recently i too was concerned that i was about to be dropped into the deep end. thankfully the game starts with a simple but effect tutorial that, to me, felt like it covered most of what you need to know. there were a couple of UI stuff i'm sure i worked out for myself. but i'd say the biggest thing Miracle Merchant doesn't do is keep a record of what card matches do.

there are 4 colors of cards and 1 extra trap color. each of these has a picture on them. it wasn't that clear whether the items made by combining four of them were a result of the cards used, the pictures on the cards used, or the amount of money you got from combining 4 cards. i would've liked a book next to me that would tell me what combinations i've found from the cards available.

There's a sense of wanting from this game throughout. it starts us off with a great introduction sequence as we move through a town. and that's the only time we get to see it. i was playing it for free so for me all there is are a few games of completing customer orders. it was shown that if i bought it, i'd get daily challenges unlocked. but it also looked like that was it for those who bought it, one extra mode. the game has great art style, all sorts of interesting characters on screen and a cool world too. but all i get to to in this game is match what the customer wants to the cards i have. i wanted more from this game because the world looked soo interesting.

Miracle Marchant is worth playing for free. there were no additional downloads, no intrusive adverts, and my phone didn't really get hot. but for many, i imagine that this game is a one and done. that's not to say it's bad, i don't think it is. but once you've won, there was nothing left that i wanted to go back and play. i imagine that'll be the case for a few who try it.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Foul Play - Part 3 - Finishing the Second Play

Welcome to Backlog Conquering.
This is part 3 of playing Foul Play on PlayStation 4.

In this part i finish the second play and start the third. Whilst i continue to enjoy being in this world and the main characters, the story is starting to be affected by the amount of fighting that seems to now be taking place. it's like the fights have broken the pace of the game. I am playing this on normal so there's a chance that playing this on easy would reduce the amount of fights and bring back pace to the story.

Whilst it is annoying, it's not enough to stop me from playing so there will be a part 4. There's not too much commentary from me in this part as i was really tired and might've even dozed off for a second or two! so it's not my best playing. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - June Bride Cup 2 - Achievement Run

Welcome to Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday! Sit back and either watch me play through, with no commentary, the cup or leave it running in the background as BGM!

I play and earn all the achievements from The June Bride Cup 2! (2023/6/19 9:00~2023/6/26 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

It was fun this week. i had another player to go up against in every match. tho, the matchmaking was a little strange at times. more than once i was put  into a game right at the end of the countdown or someone was put into mine. as for playing, well i got a couple of wins early on but then it seemed to get tougher. it certainly got more competitive but i also think i got a little unlucky with combos. this is another week where i got to the boss many times but i was never able to defeat it.

This week i played against:
キクナス - Rank 65
mikey - Rank 79
Oyajimar - Rank 49
オットセイ - Rank 73
ビカチュウくらぶ - Rank 65
Moondoggie - Rank 65
しゅうさ - Rank 61
アレルギーのおとこ3 - Rank 77

Monday, June 19, 2023

Cloud Monday - Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness - Story, Tutorials, And Perfect Cloud Streaming

Today's Cloud Monday is part 1 of playing Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness on PS4 via the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service.

the only Disgaea game i've played is Disgaea 3 and that was on PlayStation Vita a long time ago. But i still remember roughly what it was about and the style of gameplay. for me, going into Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness i had an idea what it could be whilst also having no clue. thankfully, the game has an amazing tutorial that slowly and assuredly reintroduced me into the world of Disgaea.

I'm not positive where on the Disgaea timeline this game sits, but it felt like it took place after Disgaea 3. the characters and story seemed to match what i remembered of that game. here, the story did feel a little much. Like, they needed to quickly tell the story of what came as well as begin the story of this game. so really, in the 50 minutes i played, i didn't learn much about the story of this game. thankfully, there's a part 2 next week where i'm sure the game will move on from the world's past and focus more on it's own story.

And streaming it from PlayStation Plus Premium went perfectly. it's a very rare thing, more so when you compare the quality of this stream with previous videos. things had been rough recently but then there's this game and it's perfect. All i can think of is that maybe because it's a PS3 game, it requires less bandwidth than some of the PS4 games i've been playing. the speed check seemed normal and comparable to the previous videos so i don't think that has anything to do with it.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Switch Funday - Harvest Moon - My First Time - It Didn't Go Well

Welcome to Switch Funday!

Many games that i've played for the first time in this series have mostly gone fine. I've not been that good at them, but they've always gone better than what happened with Harvest Moon. in nearly all the videos i've said something along the lines that the manual would have helped. But i think that wouldn't have helped here. as you'll see, i get stuck in the main town area for over 17 minutes as i couldn't find the one person to talk to.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing i didn't understand. it's possible that had i watched the full How to Play video i would've understood what to do. But i hadn't so i made many more mistakes. for example, i didn't plough enough soil so sowing grass seeds didn't go right. the same for turnip seeds. this meant that i was stuck for money. out of the three turnips i actually managed to grow, i broke 2, so i was only left with 1 to sell. thankfully, that meant i had just enough money to buy some more turnip seeds. by this point i had ploughed more soil so when i sowed them, i finally realised what i was meant to do.

Ultimately, this game doesn't tell you anything as a tutorial. the town's people offer advice and heavily suggest what to do. But as it's my first time playing the game, there was no context for it. by playing it, and mostly stumbling along inefficiently, i've now learned how to start the game and how it should be played. Harvest Moon on the SNES is like the Dark Souls of this farm simulation game style, as the world offer hints as to what to do, but only by failing do you truly work it out for yourself.

Unlike Dark Souls, i didn't come away from the game thinking too favorably of the past hour i spent with it. to be honest, it almost feels like a waste of my time. there are other little things about the game i wasn't enjoying, like what was the point of the dog. i can't pet it, it does nothing inside the house, and seems to do nothing outside. i put the mole/rodent thing next to it and nothing happened. what am i supposed to do about that, too!?

At the end of the video i kinda think out loud that i may give it another go now i understand what should happen. i feel like i could condense the hour plus i spent with it to less than 30 minutes and then maybe the game will open up a bit more. i may do that but i can't guarantee when.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Online Saturday - Trackmania - Not Recommended For First Time Players

For today's Online Saturday video, i played the new-ish Trackmania on my launch model PS4.

Lets start with the title, i do not recommend this game for people who haven't played any of the previous Trackmania games. In the video i go so far as to say that i consider this game to be somewhat rude and maybe even insulting to first time players. If it was a new studios first try, i'd maybe be a little les harsh, but when it's Ubisoft and new game in a long running series it's hard to think of any excuse as to why a game from both working together could be soo inaccessible for new players, and in some respects downright lie to them. 

This version of Trackmania is a free to play game. i knew that going in. so everything i saw i expected to be all that was available to me. for example, i didn't see any track building stuff so i wasn't expecting it. but the truth is that it wasn't all for me. but the game doesn't tell you this right until your ready to click go. i do not appreciate this, the game is simply lying to me, teasing me.

This lack of information runs throughout the game. for most of this video, i had no idea what i was doing or why. i simply had to learn as i went cause the game spent no time trying to educate me. there wasn't even a tutorial! the game does have training but, as i show in the video, all it says is drive. it doesn't tell you the best times, there is no ghost data as an example, nor does it even explain why you're doing this challenge in the first place. what added to the frustration was that you can't restart either. you had to complete training for a chance to do it it again better. And you'd want to do it again as there are medals to win, tho at not point does the game ever say why you want them.

Game modes are equally uninformative, they're just names. you won't know what any of them do until you click on them. so i learnt that Royal mode was the game's Fall Guys equivalent. the big differences being you're in teams and you have no idea what challenges await ahead of you as your dumped onto a track and have to go. Even when you're playing this mode the game lies to you. when your teammate completes a section you can press O to with them to the next. Pressing ∆ restarts you to your last checkpoint. that is until it doesn't and it jumps you ahead without warning.

Another example of the game doing it's own thing was in Arcade Mode. i assumed this was simple arcade racing. But no, i was put into a team and our team was up against 3 other racers in their own team. That's easy to adjust to, but when the level started it was a warm-up. it gave no extra information so i had to assume it was to allow us drivers to give the lap a go before we raced. However, the warmup just stopped before i got to the end and i have no idea why. Why would the game let us practice if it wasn't going to let us practice?

The racing itself isn't that great either. the cars are skittish which means they're not satisfying to drive. there's not a huge sense of speed either. the connection of the car to the track is fairly non-existent, and graphically the whole thing felt too simple, under populated, and rather bland.

So even as a racing game, it's really hard to recommend. there are other issues shown in this video, like my initial inability to find the garage or workout to choose a skin for my car there. So what does this game have going for it. well, it's Trackmania. the wacky track designs that you can race on is Trackmania. whilst they're there, and other prominent games don't have them, it's the sole reason i can think of for anyone to play this game. but other than that one reason, i just can't recommend this game. i deleted it after recording this video.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Mobile Friday - Super Cat Tales: PAWS - Finishing The First World

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Super Cat Tales: PAWS from NEUTRONIZED. I played this game on an iPhone 14 Pro so i also had a look at whether or not the Dynamic Island was an issue.

This is the third game in the series and i hadn't played any of them before today. i don't think it's important to have played any of the other games. its possible that those games may have added some back story for the characters and the world, but for the first world that i played through it didn't seem to be an issue.

the game doesn't feel like the first in the series. it's very polished and refined, and when you combine it with the graphic style and the bright bold colors, it makes an impressive first impression. So much so, that through the hour of playing i could only come up with some small critiques where and there. that was until i came across a bug. for some reason an advert played after a level had started and once i was able to close it and get back to the game, it was clear that the game had taken my last command of pressing right and was stuck on it. i could press left and the character would briefly go left but as soon as i let go the character went back to going right even though i wasn't touching the screen. what was more unfortunate was that this part of the level required me to run on a treadmill like device and it just wouldn't activate. i had to kill the character and restart that level.

The adverts were really the only issue i had with the game. they're soo bad it almost felt rude and even though the game is as great as it is, the adverts can't be ignored as they are part of the experience. Super Cat Tales: PAWS is a free to play game and i have no issue with there being adverts. but the way they're handled feels so rough and sloppy compared to the refined game. the first advert came out of nowhere and didn't ask for permission to play or at least give me a heads up. the game is played horizontally and yet most adverts were vertical, so they were tiny on the screen. and even the horizontal adverts didn't fill the screen so there were big black bars either side. it's a shame they couldn't so something like play an advert in-game, like in the sign they use to advertise paying for the game to remove ads.

The controls are simple, there are two buttons; left and right. each time they add a technique to what those two buttons can do, they do it brilliantly with a simple graphic showing how it's done. that's something i can really appreciate and it really makes the game accessible. something else that makes the game accessible is that your character can, mostly, take a hit. the cats run into enemies to defeat them, unless they have a pointy end, but if you make a mistake and walk into them it's OK as the enemy will have taken a hit and you won't have died.

Even tho i only played through the first world, the variety of levels was quite impressive. it didn't feel samey nor did they feel too difficult. with a control scheme as simple as this game has, the levels feel like they take full advantage of it with their layout but with the art direction and colors, the levels also were clear to navigate and i always knew where to go. there is one exception and that's the home base. i feel that maybe a little tutorial is needed to act as an introduction to show what's where. it felt more luck than design that i managed to complete that section.

Super Cat Tales: PAWS is a game i do recommend people play. it's great there's no additional download when you start the game, but people need to be aware that the game will throw video ads at you. there weren't as many as last weeks Neodori Forever, https://youtu.be/peXQekqMcTM, but there was one that did kinda break the game. it only happened once so for now i'll assume it's a bug. Super Cat Tales: PAWS gameplay and design and art and music and characters, i feel, are well worth it. But that does mean this maybe a wifi only game for some people.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Foul Play - Part 2 - Finishing the First Play

Welcome to Backlog Conquering.
This is part 2 of playing Foul Play on PlayStation 4.

In part 1, https://youtu.be/fLzEjnrlZks, i started playing through the first play and after 50 minutes i had finished Act 3. so the first thing to do today was to try and finish it. thankfully i did and i even got to Act 3 of the second play.

The game's charm, art style, and turn of the last century English is still fun. But the brawling sections just feel like they're a bit too long. it's not that they're difficult, it just feels like they're taking too much time to get through. i'm enjoying the story and how it's told, so for me i'd rather be spending my time doing that. the Brawling sections just feel like they're padding and not really adding much to what i'm finding interesting.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - June Bride Cup 1 - Achievement Run

Welcome to Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday! Sit back and either watch me play through, with no commentary, the cup or leave it running in the background as BGM!

I play and earn all the achievements from The June Bride Cup 1! (2023/6/12 9:00~2023/6/19 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

After winning the first game, i thought this was going to be an easy cup. but it turned out to be much more difficult. i had some bad luck with combos but there were times that i forgot about making the "+" shape and tried to make as many combos as i could. this was a mistake as the "+" was simply soo much more powerful. so this week, i admit it's somewhat my own fault for some of my poor games. sometimes the other players also had a bad match and sometimes the matches were really close. this week, the highs were high and the lows were low, but thankfully i got to play against many players so it was fun.

This week i played against:
ASADESU - Rank 46
ノガ - Rank 67
とめ - Rank 67
ほれぁ~ - Rank 75
さい - Rank 88
りょうじ - Rank 58

Monday, June 12, 2023

Cloud Monday - Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered - Part 2 - A Better Streaming Experience

Today's Cloud Monday is part 2 of playing Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered on PS4 via the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service.

In part 1, https://youtu.be/-nblypjQEv8, there were many instances of streaming issues. most were small and didn't affect gameplay, but they were distracting and detracted from the overall presentation of the game. But, in this series i play the games twice to check what an average playing experience is like. and for Ghostbusters: The Videogame Remastered this was a good thing as i felt that it was better, more consistent, this time round than part 1.

I didn't make much progress into the story, i think when i played this when it first came out i played it on an easier difficult level to focus more on the story being told rather than the gameplay. i don't remember it being this difficult. the game has thrown a lot of enemies at us so far. as there wasn't a let up in the action, i paused the game to do some upgrades which genuinely felt like they mattered. i feel like i was close to the next big bit of story, rather than the action to action that had been happening recently, but it was feeling a little clunky by today's standards. it felt like there was more fights than needed and sometimes more talking than what's needed. i wonder if it was padded out a little to make it a longer game.

Streaming from PlayStation Plus Premium wasn't faultless, but it was noticeably better than in part 1. the biggest difference between the two videos is the frequency of the issues. both had them, but they were far more frequent in part 1. We did get a warning in part 2 about the connection, but even then i didn't notice a big drop in resolution or issues like Macroblocking. the issues today was far less of an issue and not that distracting.

I feel that Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered is a fine game to stream. when there are issues they don't seem to get in the way of gameplay. but due to the game's graphical style, it is often noticeable when they occur. 

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Switch Funday - River City Ransom - My First Time

Welcome to Switch Funday!

For many years i've heard countless people on websites, podcasts, YouTube, etc talk positively about River City Ransom and it's series of games. i've never owned any of them nor played any of them but when i was browsing the Nintendo Switch Online platform apps i saw it. so i decided to play River City Ransom for the first time via the NES version.

All i knew going in, from what i had heard over the years, was that the music and graphics were great and that it played well. after playing it, i can say that they were right. the music was fun and a couple of tunes sounded familiar. the story was simple, to the point,  but  perhaps a tad light. tho i admit i didn't complete the game so there could be more to it. but what was there was enough to explain what we were doing and to get me to move forward.

the typical side scroller issue of not being in the correct row as your opponent was frustrating, but much newer games have also failed to completely fix this so i didn't hold it against River City Ransom but i felt that it's worth mentioning. the game's checkpointing, tho, is worth talking about as it's one of the reasons i stopped a little earlier than planned. when i was fighting close to the shops, it putting me back to the last of the shops made sense. but as i moved further and further away, it kept bringing me back to the shops which meant a longer and longer walk/run to where i was. and with enemies respawning, there was no save area. at the end, i just ran and avoided all of them.

River City Ransom being on this service means that i could rewind gameplay to before i died. and whilst that's certainly an option, the lack of recovery, or seeming lack of it, whilst i was away from the shops also was frustrating. i didn't use the rewind feature because there was no point. if there was no way to get more health, then rewinding was pointless as i was just going to die anyway. i thought that it would be quicker to just dies and respawn than try to rewind my way through the game.

I don't know if was about to reach a new respawn point, and yes the game is old and the first of it's series, so whilst what i said above did become frustrating, it didn't break the game for me. i happily created a suspend point and i intend on coming back to the game in the future. if you have this game as part of Nintendo Switch Online, then i do agree with what people have being saying for a long time now, it's well worth playing and i did enjoy myself.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Online Saturday - Splatoon 3 - June's Big Run Event

Welcome to Online Saturday!

This weekend is June's Big Run Event in Splatoon 3. This event has the Salmonids attacking the Undertow Spillway map. this is the biggest difference between the regular Salmon Run mode and Big Run. Salmon Run has it's own set of maps whereas Big Run uses maps from the online mutliplayer. 

Today's video is a little longer than usual as i had two attempts at beating the King Salmonoid. both times tho ended up in failure. Out of the 11 Big Run matches i did, i only managed to complete 3 of them. My high score from the event is 68 Golden Eggs. trying to get the most Golden Eggs is the goal of Big Run. at the end, my high score of 68 will go up against the high scores of everyone else who tried it.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Mobile Friday - Neodori Forever - When Style Comes Before The Player Experience

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Neodori Forever from Strobetano. when i recorded the video i didn't know that the game was also out on Switch and PlayStation 4.

It's hard not to go into this game thinking you'd be getting an experience similar to Ridge Racer or Out Run, basically one of those arcade style racers from the late Mega Drive early PlayStation era, and i admit i thought that was what i was going to get. it feels like that, to a certain extent, was the goal of the developers. the graphic style, the art style, the play style, and the music all work together to create a game which pulls on nostalgia but in a modern way.

You can hear it in my voice as i play the game how my excitement and enthusiasm dwindles and becomes more frustration with it. it has all the things i mentioned above but it seemingly completely drops the ball when it comes to the players experience playing the game. right from the off it drops you into a race with no tutorial or no option to practice in a time attack mode. there are other instances of it not providing information. for example, i still have no idea why i was collecting coins. i have no idea what the police did. and it took too long for me to work out that the fuel canisters were actually replenishing my health.

It's hard to think of what else the game did right. the only other highlight i can think off is how, in the settings, there was an option to resize the UI. i tried it out and found what i thought worked. but then throughout the rest of the game the Dynamic Island and the curved corners of my phone's screen got in the way. thankfully it rarely was anything critical or important, but it just highlights how the developers had a goal and implemented it but in such a way that it didn't fully take into account the player experience.

It's worth mentioning that there were no extra downloads starting the game for the first time. but i can't recommend this game for those on data plans due to the excessive amounts of adverts.  i recorded around 50 minutes of gameplay, but ended up having to cut nearly 7 minutes of it due to the adverts in the game. i think in all there were 18 adverts. each time, the game never asked my permission to play them. there was no warning either. there's no health system, there's no energy system, there's no countdown. the adverts just ended up playing after every race attempt, win or lose. imagine playing the game for 45 minutes 5 days a week. lets say that's 15 unskippable adverts. i dare to think how much data 75 video adverts would use up.

So, for the second week running, i can't recommend getting this game on iPhone. it's just a bad experience for the player. However, getting this on console could be much better as there wouldn't be soo many intrusive adverts, each with a different quality, length, and even aspect ratio. plus, console versions would be better adapted for controllers and offer rumble. as for me, i have deleted the game.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Miya Cup - Achievement Run

Welcome to Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday! Sit back and either watch me play through, with no commentary, the cup or leave it running in the background as BGM!

I play and earn all the achievements from The Miya Cup! (2023/6/5 9:00~2023/6/12 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This is up there as one of the shortest videos for this series. There were no connection issues, battles finished quickly, and there were no pauses. it's definitely one of the smoother cup runs i've done. in the 6 games i played, there were 3 wins, two 2nds, and a third place finish.

I mostly understood the gimmick this week, but i didn't manage to beat the boss. it looked like most the people i played with didn't beat it either. later on, you'll see i start adding more "L" shape matches but i don't think i quite grasped which colors gave me the bonus damage.

This week i played against:
ルーチア - Rank 65
しろねこ - Rank 62
キグナス - Rank 64
ブロ:BR - Rank 67
ふーー - Rank 78

Monday, June 5, 2023

Cloud Monday - Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered - Part 1 - Control Lag And Other Things

Today's Cloud Monday is part 1 of playing Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered on PS4 via the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service.

This  is a game that i have played before when it came out before in 2009. i don't remember what platform i played it on, maybe it was Xbox 360. but i haven't played it since. Ghostbusters: The Video Game - Remastered is a new game to the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service and i was curious and excited to go back to it after all these years. the length of this video is an example of how much i was enjoying it, but also how the start of the game just flows from scenario to scenario.

But it wasn't a smooth experience. quite quickly i noticed how much like a PS3 "Pro" game it looked like, and later on i'd wonder if the video had some Ai upscaling done to it because there was some sort of fuzziness to the details. Another thing that i noticed quickly were the controls. there was some sort of lag to them. in the video i stop near the beginning so you can hear when i press a button and when action happens on screen. it's enough to make my timing feel off and for it to affect gameplay later when we unlock the dodge.

As for the streaming, from the beginning, on the station, we have a couple of instances of macroblocking and zebra striping near the bottom of the screen. the striping doesn't happen again but there are a few instances of macroblocking throughout the video. there are numerous occasions when stream tearing happens and parts of the have grey on them. i don't think i noticed any resolutions drops, but there were some other instances were other things seemed to be happening that weren't related to the game itself. it's hard to describe as they were fleeting, but sometimes it looked like wrong colors, other times it seemed a combination of a tear and macroblocking. i don't know if the laggy controls are another symptom.

unfortunately, the video decided to die when i went to the speed test. thankfully the audio remained.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Switch Funday - Splatoon 3 - Playing The First Challenge Event

Welcome to Switch Funday.
I teased it in yesterday's video, https://youtu.be/RRILIgS2XWU, that i was going to try and do the first Challenge Event. i managed to get in 10 battles, winning 4, before i ran out of time.

What you'll hear throughout a lot of this video is confusion as i try to work out how this Challenge Event works. whilst the new weapons were all clearly shown, i feel like what this event is wasn't explained clearly enough. i feel that by the end, i got somewhat of a grasp of what this was all about. i'll try to explain it, but feel free to add in the comments if i make a mistake.

For the first Challenge Event, the challenge was simply playing the two new levels that were added in patch 4.0.0 (the Sizzle Update). a restriction was that only the primary ability of your gear would be activated (the first pin on your gear, not any other pins). A level/score for your ability is created over 5 matches. for me that was 808. any wins after that increases that score, whilst losses reduce that score. (i tried to show this a couple of times in this video). the "winners" are those who rank with the highest scores. you could play any of the three time slots, your highest score across all three would be your final score.

Looking at the Splatoon 3 Wiki, https://splatoonwiki.org/wiki/Challenge, it seems there's another challenge on June 6th so i may have a go trying to get in at least 1 time slot. the following other Challenges are listed but i don't know if i'll have time to try them all. but the challenge on 15th June sounds fun as i'll get to try out randomly selected weapons.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Online Saturday - Splatoon 3 - Playing The 4.0.1 Update

Welcome to Online Saturday.
Splatoon 3 got it's big Sizzle Season update with patch 4.0.0 so this weekend i'm back trying it out. for me, i'm playing with the latest 4.0.1 patch.

The Splatoon wiki, https://splatoonwiki.org/wiki/Sizzle_Season_2023, has a great breakdown of what was added to the game. I had hoped to try out some of the new stuff and thankfully my catalogue level was high enough to try out the new main weapon Painbrush. the stage rotation meant i didn't get to try out Barnacle & Dime or Humpback Pump Track, but i do have a video coming for Switch Funday where i try them out. they were part of this weekends new Challenge Mode.

I got to play 14 matches today but only managed to win 5 of them. as ever it was fairly competitive and there were some close games. there was also 1 disconnection but i'm not worried about that. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Mobile Friday - F1 Clash - I Don’t Recommend it!

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out F1 Clash from Hutch, it was formally known as F1 Manager when it was originally released in 2019. i played it for around 50 minutes on my iPhone 14 Pro, but it is also out on Android.                                                                                                            

I'm a big fan of F1 and have watched it since the 90's. so going into this game i did have a certain level of expectations. I know the rules of F1 and how things tend to go. From the very beginning of this game i had issues with it. F1 Clash starts with a "Tour" and i fully expected that to be the tutorial, for it to take me round each of the menus (maybe calling them facilities) and to somewhat hold my hand through my first interactions with the team. Nope, the first thing on the "Tour" was for me to design the car's livery. 

things don't improve when you do the first "Race". your two drivers are Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher, and then they're not your drivers anymore. it almost feels disrespectful how abruptly their participation with your team ends. Race is in " " because i totally misunderstood what kind of game this is from that first tutorial race. in the tutorial, you're racing against a full field of other drivers and teams. But actually, that's not the point of the game. and even now, writing this, i'm annoyed that i was made to do a tutorial that totally misrepresented what the game actually is. because what you're actually doing is racing other people.

But are they real people? i don't know. i wasn't signed into Facebook or Apple, so where did these other "online" people come from. when it was choosing them, the same backgrounds kept appearing. and the first two opponents had the same driver line-up. at no point did it ask me about playing online or say that was what we're doing, and yet it tried to give the impression that was what we're doing. this isn't the only time something like this happened as i pressed a "Free Rewards" button assuming it was a free reward, it said collect now. but as soon as i pressed it it started playing an advert. it never asked for permission. and it wasn't a short advert either. i cut about 1 minute 15 seconds from this video. as the game did that to me, later when i see another "Free Crate" in the shop i'm genuinely apprehensive about clicking it as i assume it's just going to be another video.

At least clicking on that did something. in the Race section, a new option appears alongside "Duel" and "Spinners" but i don't know it's name. it had the name of this weekends Race at Barcelona in Spain, but what it is actually called i don't know. i clicked it and it told me the rules and then took me to a screen that had many options but they were all locked. even now i don't know why. nothing in the rules explains this. the locked button never tells me why it's locked. it's never explained what i need to do to unlock it, even tho the game had no issues with letting me get to this screen. even now i have no idea what the point of that was.

That's not the only time where the game locks stuff off, or has a lack of information. right at the beginning when you're designing your car's livery, there are locked liveries with no explanation on how to unlock them. In the shop there are drinks you can buy with no information as to what any of them do. later on i find another screen else where that details what each drink does, but it should've been in the shop. When it comes to assigning drivers, every driver is listed. at the time they were listed by series and i had no idea what that meant. i later learned that it was do to with what "race" i had unlocked, but at this point in the game it was needless confusing.

And then there's the Formula One stuff of the game, but even that is not realistic. If you're a fan of F1, it's really difficult to recommend this game. the tyre rules are not respected, the Ai is a mess, the racing is unrealistic, there are soo many crashes it makes a series like Formula E look tame. i even had a moment when, in the pits, i had a car being worked on and it got rear-ended by it's teammate. there's zero consequence for crashes and yet when tyre life hits zero the cars crawl to snail pace, and who knows how long a tyre will last as there's zero information being given to you. there's no help, you have to guess all the way.

I could go on, but ultimately i just wasn't having fun. it's an old game that feels even older. the developers should've made something new in a modern style. i just can't recommend it.