Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Halloween Cup 2 Revival - 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 Halloween Cup 2 Revival! ( 2023/10/30 9:00~2023/11/6 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This week is the Halloween Cup 2 Revival. i have played this cup before, https://youtu.be/G3xMouT-Dlc. Just like that video, it wasn't as straightforward in this revival. i was up against some tough human opponents once again.

Last week, https://youtu.be/MKiG0MmX-8Q, in Halloween Cup 1 i only played against 1 other player so i moved my gaming time back to Monday in hopes of finding more to play against. the level of competition against those i found was high but it often came down to the end of game bonuses to work out who would make it into the top 3. the Ai characters, once or twice, also got the end of game bonuses. In the final game, i did manage to get a win against the computer, but against the other humans i could only manage a 2nd or 3rd. even tho the results weren't what i was aiming for, i still had a fun time playing against them.

This week i played against:
ユルてィム - Rank 75
しゅうさ - Rank 64
$$ - Rank 73
EODM - Rank 70
れ!いんいん_TN_ - Rank 74

Monday, October 30, 2023

Cloud Monday - Cloudpunk - Good Game To Stream From PlayStation Plus But Unclear Saves Are An Issue

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 2 of playing Cloudpunk. I streamed this game, developed by Ion Lands, via the PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming Service on my launch model Japanese PS4.

In part 1, https://youtu.be/o3KbvReYduI, i had a great experience streaming the game from PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service. there were the occasional hiccups throughout my time with the game but nothing that seriously impacted my time and my enjoyment of the game. they were simply noticeable.

For the most part, that continued into this part 2. I felt no lag in the controls and the streaming issues we had didn't get in the way of gameplay nor my enjoyment of it. But there were more noticeable streaming artifacts than in part 1. there were Stream Tears, where grey appears on screen, and it felt like there were bit rates drops, where the video looked like "1080p" but not too detailed. 

A lot of the games design, intentional or not, helps mitigate the issues i had streaming the game from PlayStation. Most, if not all, of the conversations in the game are voiced and also have subtitles, if you don't accidentally hide them,  so if there is macro blocking and the text becomes illegible, then you can listen to what's happening. If the bit rate or resolution drops, you can slow down or stop. most of the game so far is us delivery items in our vehicle but these don't go fast and we don't move fast when walking so i never felt like i was headed to a crash. and i could simply stop and wait for things to get better. So for these reasons, and more, i do recommend this game as something that's streamable from PlayStation Plus and that it's a good game in general.

But...it's unclear when the game saves. And in a game that's being streamed to us on a service that can kick us off with just a 20 second warning, it's a little frustrating. I ended this video not knowing when the last save was, would i have to talk to the Coffee Man again or was the save when i landed. i don't know. The game has some other small issues like a so-so tutorial that i can work my through. But this save issue is big enough to give me pause and it's something i must add when i recommend this game, 'cause i do recommend it.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Switch Funday - Splatoon 3 - Halloween Splatfest Tricolor - 15 Battles 8 Wins!

Welcome to Switch Funday.
It's day two of the Splatfest weekend so today's video focuses on the Tricolor game mode in Splatoon 3. I found that in nearly all games, it was very competitive. some games were more challenging than others, but overall it was a fun Tricolor and a fun Splatfest overall.

But, the online was even worse today than Saturday. the video file for this is over an hour and a half long. It took over 3 minutes for some matches to be found, there were also disconnections in the lobby and in-game, too. there was one game that lasted about 10 seconds! I haven't seen a splatfest with this many bad internet issues since around the launch of the game over a year ago.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Online Saturday - Splatoon 3 - Halloween Splatfest - 15 Battles 7 Wins!

Welcome to Online Saturday.
It's a Splatfest weekend so today's video is on the "Which Would Be The Best Friend" Splatfest in Splatoon3. Our choices are between Skeleton, Ghost, and Zombie. I chose to join Team Ghost.

This was a fun Splatfest. i would say that it felt like the wait between matches was the longest it's been since the game launched. typically i'd have to wait 10-30 seconds at most but during this Splatfest i had waits two minutes or more. Other than that, it was fun because of how competitive it was. there were some real close games and others that ebbed and flow between the two teams. it was nice to get 2 x10 wins in this Splatfest, i rarely take part in them and even rarer win them. so to win two feels special.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - CRYMACHINA on PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of CRYMACHINA.  This DEMO, from developers FuRyu, is also out on PS5, Switch, and PC.

The reason why i chose to play this demo was because it's game icon on the PlayStation store looked soo cool. i didn't even check out any of the screenshots or videos on the store. i simply saw the icon and downloaded the DEMO.

I didn't finished this DEMO, but i played enough to know that it wasn't specifically built as a DEMO. it's simply the start of the game. But, in a way, this is good as we get to see the back story, the tutorials, and even some world building. In that sense, it's a great DEMO. But, what wasn't made clear at any point is whether or not our save will carry over to the final game. It's possible that it will say so at the end of the DEMO, but i didn't get that far. if you know, let us know in the comments.

The combat in this DEMO is a highlight, and potentially exciting for the full game. the controls felt accurate but also spamable for new comers, the tutorial was clear, if a little basic, and the visual affects were showy and added a cool factor and heft to what was happening on screen. But the DEMO made it clear early on that there's a casual mode which'll make the combat easier if you'd rather focus on the story.

As for the story, as this is only a short look at the game it's understandable that there are a few questions left answered. but the game does a good job of having the main character ask the questions that we, the gamer, would ask. I would say that it works. enough has been revealed to put the game in a world, some things have been explained well enough to explain game design choices, and some things have been teased as to what we're going to be doing in the story. But there's no hint of a twist as yet so it's hard to say whether the game as a simple story to tell or if everything's not quite as it seems.

Graphically, it feels like this DEMO is taken from a near end or final build of the game. it looks great and i was surprised how much i liked the architecture style. The main character designs may be a little busy, but they are distinct from the bad characters in the DEMO. everything considered, i would say this succeeds as a DEMO even if it's not really designed as one. so perhaps it's best to say that the first hour of this game is approachable for casual and hardcore gamers, and after playing it i am much more interested in it than i was before. so i recommend people play the DEMO, one way or another it's a good one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Abzû On PS4 - The First Two Shrines

The next game from my backlog that i'm going to play is the PlayStation 4 version of Abzu, a game developed by Giant Squid and published by 505 Games  .

I'm sure this is a game i got from PlayStation Plus, downloaded, but never actually played. Even when i changed the HDD in my PS4, i downloaded this game again because i wanted to play it. thankfully, this series has given me the push i needed to finally start Abzû, and after just this first part i'm glad i did.

Abzû is a beautiful game, even on my Japanese launch model PS4. it starts well, instead of just telling us to press a button it puts on screen the controller and also shows us which button to press. that immediately makes the game more accessible for people unfamiliar with the DualShock 4. What some people may not enjoy is how the game doesn't explicitly tell us what to do, but in it's own way it does give some hints in the first few areas as to what you'll be doing.

In this video, i did the first two shrines in the game. i don't yet fully understand the significance of the shrines, but like the rest of the game they are visually impressive. along the way, there are hints as to a story as there are seemingly structures, or ruins of ones, as well as surprisingly advanced robotic doors. There's also the enigma of the character we play as, as initially i thought it was humanoid. but as we were able to spend as much time as we wanted under water i'm starting to think that maybe we're not human. there are robots in the game, so maybe we're more advanced robots or even androids. in this video i wondered if this is a post apocalyptic world and our job is to help bring life to the oceans.

There will be a part 2, i'm very interested in this game. if you've watched the Rime videos  from earlier in this series, you'll know that i liked that game because i was playing and learning the story. the puzzles didn't really add much to that game. thankfully here there don't seem to be puzzles, other than the story itself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Halloween Cup 1 Revival - 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 Halloween Cup 1 Revival! ( 2023/10/23 9:00~2023/10/30 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This week is the Halloween Cup 1 Revival. i have played this cup before, https://youtu.be/ij3CCf2-zlA. Much like this video, back then i found the gimmick easy to understand and back then it was one of my shorter videos. but also, like today, i didn't play against many other players.

I only played against 1 other human player, even tho i played the same day as last week when there were many other people. i did find the gimmick easy to understand, but trying to do it with a controller is difficult as it feels slow. i was only able to beat the boss a couple of times but regularly got to it. the A.I didn't provide much competition , but the human player in the last couple of rounds did and it was fun to see it decided via the end of game bonuses

This week i played against:
HIROKUN - Rank 76

Monday, October 23, 2023

Cloud Monday - Cloudpunk - Unclear Checkpoints And Auto-Saves Bring Unwanted Anxiety

This week's Cloud Monday video is is on Cloudpunk. I streamed this game, developed by Ion Lands, via the PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming Service on my launch model Japanese PS4.

Going in to this game, i didn't know much about it. over the years i had heard this and that about it so i knew that it was something like a taxi/delivery game with lots of talking. but the specifics were unclear. But one of the reasons for choosing a "Cyberpunk" style game is whether or not the aesthetics of it would hold up being streamed to my PlayStation 4.

For the most part, streaming the game from the cloud doesn't affect the aesthetics of the game. the biggest issue the game has in this regard is with the PS4. the draw distance isn't too far so there is a lot of pop-in. it's hard to get a sense of scale, the fully grasp the whole world, when it's popping in as you drive along. But what you do get to see is some amazing voxel art and some huge buildings.

As the game uses varying sizes of voxels, i never really had an issue with how it looked or with things not being clear due to issues with the streaming. in the video, there was some macro blocking, some stream tears, some small hiccups, but in all these instances i still could understand the world. thankfully, these all happened in the car so it's possible out on foot it could be a little bit more of a distraction. the only issue i had with the cloud stream was an instance where macro-blocking made reading what a character was saying difficult.

Once again, it was the game itself that provided the biggest issue. In this video, i was unable to save my game, nor was i able to workout if the game is auto saving or checkpointing. I'll find out when i start Part 2 next week, but it genuinely adds a bit of anxiety to the experience because if there is an issue with streaming a game from PlayStation Plus, there's only a 20 second warning. I have no idea when the last save was, so i have no idea how much progress is about to be lost. The game's pace is slow and that works well with it being streamed, but that works against it if a lot of progress is about to be lost.

As a streaming experience, i do recommend it. But that comes with a huge asterix over the saving and checkpointing that i won't know the answer to until the second part of this series.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Switch Funday - Monster Hunter: Rise - Sunbreak - My First Hour Into The Game

For Switch Funday, i finally started Monster Hunter: Rise - Sunbreak, a game and DLC pack that i was gifted by my family for Christmas that i hadn't got around to playing.  I don't have much experience with any Monster Hunter game as i did get the Monster Hunter Wii U limited edition but never really played much and i don't really have any memories of it.

It starts with a character creator with some very in-depth options for customisation, but honestly i'm not into that so i hurriedly created someone, the same with my Palamute and Palicoe. the only addition i might've liked is the ability for the game to randomly suggest names. but other than that i feel that everything was clearly explained and liked how the game would highlight the part(s) of your character that you were about to edit.

Then the game begins and immediately it's a great looking game. looking around, there are some things around that are lower resolution or lower detail, but as a whole it really works. Capcom have been smart in their use of art to build a world that as a whole mostly works. i do find that the faces of some characters look more porcelain than others and there are some very low resolution shadows that stick out, but in the grand scheme of things those are fairly small complaints. i'd say that throughout the music is also great, but maybe they could've done what Zelda did and add some small pieces/handful of notes when you're out adventuring.

This is essentially my first Monster Hunter game so i'm relying on it's tutorial to guide me and i'm a little disappointed in that it's gone the text box route. especially when there's a character teaching us, it doesn't make sense to me that that character isn't demoing what the text box is telling us. the game already puts controls on screen, why couldn't it combine that with our trainer so we could see how things work. Whilst it hasn't happened in this video, i'm a little concerned that we'll have to dive into menus to learn/remember things and that there won't be reminders on screen.

This fear of being overwhelmed is highlighted in this video once all the free DLC has been added to the game via it's mail system. i do have complaints with this system, which probably could've been better worded at the very least, but this did mean that when i opened up my inventory the screen was filled with icons and stuff and no tutorial to help deal with it. 

I'm a little concerned about the tutorial and whether or not it'll be able to guide me through the game. i ended the video wondering where was the amiibo section as i do have the Palamute one. i can only assume, for now, that i've not unlocked that feature or found where it is. the game has already shown that it's going it's own pace and it could very well be that the questions i have will be answered in the next hour. i don't mind if a game has a long, slow, opening to it so i'll reserve judgement somewhat and say that i have concerns but i'm looking forward to the game proving me wrong.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Online Saturday - Redout 2 - It Feels Incomplete, Has A Bad Tutorial, And The Online Is Tacked On

Welcome to Online Saturday.
For today's video i'm trying the PS4 version of Redout 2 from 34BigThings. I have the original Redout game, also on PlayStation 4, but i haven't played that in many years. But i have pleasant memories from playing it. Redout 2 has recently come to PlayStation Plus so i was keen to try it as i'm still enjoying racing games at the moment. 

I'll be upfront about my feelings after playing this game, i do not recommend it. frankly, it feels like an unfinished early access game with modes tacked on. Even as a free PlayStation Plus download, it borders on a waste of time when there are far more games out there to play.

It starts with a cinematic that looks a little weird, like it's a lower resolution that the rest of the game. i wonder if the disc version of the game has a higher resolution cinematic than this. It tells some story before panning the camera behind our vehicle, then there's a lurch, maybe for a frame or two, as the graphics ramp up and we're into the tutorial. It does work well and it is exciting, but this tutorial is at full speed and adds a level of anxiety as it feels like there's not enough time to read the prompt and do it as the vehicle is still racing on the track. as we race there's an unprompted speed boost that slams us into the wall and then another prompt for strafing that also puts us into the wall as we try it.

The tutorials don't get any better. there's even an instance near the end of the video where a prompt appears just as the track loses a side wall. so in the process of reading the prompt on our screen we race straight off the track. as for the rest of the tutorials, they are more like telling us how to do something without explaining what the expected result or next step is. one that frustrated me was the rewind feature as it told us how to enter it, then gave no further explanations for all the buttons that appeared on the screen. 

A weird thing about the tutorials is that you don't need to finish them to unlock unranked multiplayer. i found it frustrating that i had to go into multiplayer to find out i can't do multiplayer, but at least it said what the requirement was to unlock unranked mode. so that's what i did, and then in multiplayer i had situations where prompts came up on the screen that i didn't fully understand. it wasn't until i went back to finish the tutorial that they were explained. I understand why multiplayer was locked, but i don't understand why it was unlocked before the tutorial we finished. that one decision made gave me negative impressions of both modes.

At best i can call the multiplayer tacked on. there is just 1 mode. Ranked mode, like a couple of other modes, is "Coming Soon". but it's almost unbelievably basic. all i can do is select unranked and wait. there's no lobby, no region, no course select, nothing. all i can do is wait and join when it's found a match. and over about half an hour to forty minutes, i only found 1 match. and even then the other racer DNF'd. after the race the messaging is unclear, as there's no tutorial or prompts or text boxes, and you're dumped back to the home screen when you leave multiplayer. i didn't want to leave it, i wanted to race again.

This whole "Coming Soon" debacle is why this game feels incomplete, almost like it's in early access. it's not just the ranked multiplayer, but even on the home screen there are two other modes with "Coming Soon" on them, "Season Challenge" and "Community". it's hard to believe that DLC came out for this game before these modes did. there's no date on them when they're coming, no information as to what they are either. Why even use up space on the home screen advertising some features that are coming later. that should be off to the side, with information about what they are and when they're coming. it's not even clear if they're DLC or a patch. The three "Coming Soon" features and not really there multiplayer really do make this game feel incomplete. i could even say that with a tutorial this bad, that also adds to it.

It's a graphically nice game, but i'm not entirely convinced the racing is that good. the tracks are great, they're interesting and the world around them is also impressive. the vehicles are unique and each one looks different. it's cool how you can parts, too. But the vehicles don't work well on the tracks, or the tracks aren't suited to the vehicles. the tracks don't feel designed well enough for the handling of the vehicles. It could be a speed thing, like maybe the vehicles are too fast.

Overall, i can't recommend Redout 2. even as a free to download game on PlayStation Plus, it's hard to recommend as ultimately it borders as just being a waste of time. I'm even starting to wonder if the first game was actually good or not. it's been soo long since i played it that maybe my memory is wrong.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Mobile Friday - Ninja Must Die - One of The Best Mobile Games I’ve Played!

For Mobile Friday this week i tried out Ninja Must Die on #iPhone14Pro. this game is from Pandada Games and is out on #android, too.

I've had this on my phone for a little while but i noticed it got updated a couple of days ago and it reminded me to play it. the screenshots in the app store did make the game look cool, but i didn't have high expectations going in. 

This game is one of the best mobile games i've ever played. there is soo much to praise with this game. let's start by saying that this is one of the most accessible games i've played. and they haven't done it in a patronising way either. it's very clever how they incorporated the tutorial into the level design. they show us how to jump, they let us jump, then they show how jump can be used in the level, in this example by having a coin trial. this smart use of a tutorial is felt throughout the game. sometimes the tutorial is just a text box, but that's often more than enough and more than what most games have done. 

If you've seen many of my other Mobile Friday videos, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyEBkNKW1vyo4rdco4wtJvv-B3zoxcMUd, how games advertise their own shops is a frequent criticism of mine. initially, i was wrong in my assumption when this game showed it's first advert. i praised that they had a video of the character in action, but wasn't happy that there were items also included that we didn't know about. But when the second advert came up, i tried touching the items and a text box appeared telling us what the item does. that's incredible and something i've never seen before. i'd like a symbol showing that the item can be touched, but the fact that the game shows a video of a character in action and has information about the other items in a bundle, is simply amazing and something i've been wanting games to do. It's OK to advertise to us, but soo often games advertise things we don't know the true value of, like for things we've yet to see in the game.

The game is also stunning. on my screen at a high brightness it's one of the best looking games i've played. there's soo much detail throughout the levels, plus smart uses of depth, shadows, and shading. as i have the iPhone 14 Pro, the video out is only 1080p so i feel like this video can't convey fully how good things look. the music is great, too. it's definitely a game i'd like to have the soundtrack too.

There are only two main buttons and two extra buttons. the main buttons are down, on the left side, and jump/up on the right side. it's another way the game makes itself accessible. the two other buttons relate to weapons and abilities and are on timers, but they are also quite big. the levels are smartly built around these controls in such a way it almost feels like a rhythm game. failing isn't punished and you're quickly put back in the game. it's also possible to replay levels and aim for a higher score or complete daily tasks.

In this video we saw a few other ways the game tries to get players back. one way that we didn't get to see the conclusion of was sending out our summons on patrols. this is how they gain experience and rewards. another way we saw in this video is Race Mode. in this mode it's our character up against the scores from 50 other characters in a map. the higher the score, the better placed you are. as you rank up, you can get better rewards but you'll also be up against stronger opponents. 

This game has a feature i've not seen before in any other mobile game, but one i many other games should copy. Ninja Must Die has something called "Pro Replay." This is a feature in Story Mode where you can watch someone else's level completion video. so if you're ever stuck, you can watch a video how someone else finished it. Or if  you're unsure was to which weapon to equip for the level, you can see what others used and pick that weapon or something else suitable. Be careful as this may use up your mobile data.

I didn't get to see everything in this game, but what i saw blew me away in how polished it was, how accessible it was, and how smartly designed the game in general was. it's clear the people playing the game are not an afterthought. simply put, i recommend this game to not just fans of ninja's or runner type games, but to those who have felt overwhelmed or intimidated by other mobile games as well.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince on Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince. This game, from developers Tose, is set to come out near the end of 2023.

I've never played a game in the Monsters series but i've known about it and seen enough videos to have a general understanding of how it works. I was curious about how much of a DEMO Square Enix was going to release for the game as they have released some big demo's in the past.

This is a great demo. it has an announcement at the very start explaining clearly that there are limits, that not everything will be carried over to the final version of the game but there are things that will be carried over. And yet whilst i played it, i never felt that the restrictions impacted my enjoyment of the demo. i could see some things greyed out, but as it's the start of the game they are things i wasn't really going to interact with anyway.

With these videos, i try to keep them an hour or less and most games in this series have finished before an hour. I didn't finish this demo and i wanted to keep on playing. for me, that's a good sign of a demo in that when it was over i wanted to keep on playing.

Another sign that this is not only a good demo but also mostly likely to be a very accessible game is how good the tutorial is. it came step by step smartly in the story and throughout this video more and more was slowly being revealed at a nice pace that didn't feel overwhelming. the demo came across in such a way that i feel like the game itself will focus more on story telling rather than mechanics and will do so by making the game very approachable. 

The demo did have some technical issues that seemed separate from the issues the #Switch was having in general. there were some slight hitches where the framerate and fluidity of gameplay felt noticeably off for a brief moment. there was also a moment where a monster seemingly spawned half into the environment. But it was also clear the Switch was struggling a little to run this game. the fans in my Switch were noticeably going, the pop-in was too close to the camera and very noticeable, and some of the graphics just looked like they had a low level of detail and in some instances they looked copy and pasted together. But the game isn't out yet so i can't say for sure if those issues will carry over to the retail version of the game. But as a demo, i do recommend it. it's a fantastic demo and a great look at a game.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Gunstar Heroes - From Start To Finish

This is my "perfect" playthrough of Gunstar Heroes on PS3, as part of SEGA's Vintage Collection that was released via the PSN. i have taken the videos i recorded from all 7 parts and edited them into 1 video. i have tried to remove all the continues and "save scumming" that i did to complete the game. there maybe a couple of instances where health maybe suddenly jumps up or the music may repeat a little, but for the most part you should be able to sit back and watch the game from start to finish. And as a bonus, there's no commentary! so sit back and enjoy the great soundtrack!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Artemis Cup Revival - 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 Artemis Cup Revival! (2023/10/16 9:00~2023/10/23 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This week is the Artemis Cup Revival. i have played this cup before, https://youtu.be/qJrQzXP416c. Much like this video, back then i found the gimmick easy to understand but difficult to master.

After last week's video, i decided to try to do this cup on a different day at a different time and it seemed to work. i was up against more other players across more games.

the competition was very tough. i did get a win against the computer, but up against the humans it was soo much tougher. i only managed to get to the main boss a couple of times and i was not able to defeat it. there was something about the 5th and 6th stages that was just difficult.

This week i played against:
Ytelis - Rank 68
E2G6 - Rank 70
あいすのけしん - Rank 68
やん! - Rank 67
ころん - Rank 72

Monday, October 16, 2023

Cloud Monday - Matterfall - Part 2 - It’s Good To Stream From The Cloud But It’s Not As Fun To Play

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 2 of playing #Matterfall, a #PS4 game from #Housemarque that came out in 2017. In the first video, https://youtu.be/rj3-onwTwrk, Matterfall did well being streamed from the #PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service. But we always play the games twice so we can get a better idea of the average streaming quality.

So in this part 2, it actually was a little worse being streamed from the cloud than in part 1. there wasn't nothing too serious, but there was some minor macro blocking, what appeared to be some bit-rate drops, and some stream tearing. whilst these were noticeable, none of these got in the way of my gameplay.

The thing that got in the way of the gameplay was the game itself. i stopped playing the game because i stopped having fun with it. there's no denying that the game is good to look at, but i found it not as great to play. It's a shame as the game is good to be streamed from the cloud because of how frequent the checkpoints are and that it doesn't mind if you die. So whilst i can recommend the game as one that's suitable to be played from the cloud, i don't think i can recommend the game as strongly as something that should be played.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Switch Funday - F-Zero 99 - 1 Month Later With Patch 1.02

For Switch Funday i went back to F-Zero 99. it had received two updates since i last played it. these updates added more content to the game like new tracks as well as some small tweaks.

The thing that surprised me the most is how much better everyone got at the game. in the first video, https://youtu.be/8aoxu1RiYEQ, from the launch weekend, there wasn't as much attacking as there was in this video. people also seemed more familiar with tracks, making fewer mistakes and using the super boost much more efficiently. 

The new tracks that have been added to the game do, mostly, feel a little more difficult with tighter cornering and more corners. they are still visually cool to look at and the race to get on the track is still fun. but the track with the magnets at the edge, Port Town 2 i think, was not fun at all as i was constantly finding them and being damaged and slowed down.

But the biggest surprise was that after a month since release, it did feel like less people were playing F-Zero 99. I had seen this with other "99" games on the Switch like Pac-Man 99, but even Tetris 99 feels like there are plenty of people playing. trying out the Pro Race mode, it felt like 2/3 of the racers were A.I and about the same for the second Grand Prix i tried. Thankfully the F-Zero 99 game mode seemed mostly full of human racers. but it will be interesting to see if this continues to be popular and what Nintendo continues to add to the game. will they do paid DLC like Tetris 99 or will they continue to add content via patches in a similar way to their other big titles like Splatoon 3.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Online Saturday - Splatoon 3 - Getting October's Salmon Run Item

This month's #Splatoon3 #SalmonRun item is the Brinestone Jacket and like the other Salmon Run items, my goal is to get the item twice and pick the best of the two to keep. It took a long time to get the jacket twice. i had a few games where we couldn't even get past the first wave of enemies. there were two weird moments where in one game there were only 2 players and in another there was a big amount of slowdown that i don't remember experiencing in the game before. in the final job, my team and i did face off against the King Salmonoid but we were unable to defeat it.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - Cross Tails on PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the #PlayStation4 version of Cross Tails.  This DEMO, from developers Rideon, is also out on all current generation platforms and PC.

The reason why i chose to play this demo was because i was genuinely curious about the game. on the #PSN store, not much is mentioned about the story but the screenshots showed that when the characters are on screen, not their character art, they are surrounded by a thick black outline. but it didn't look quite like cell shading that i had seen in the past. 

The most annoying and disappointing part of this demo is the tutorial. it's just text boxes and pictures. and lots of them. the demo does start by saying that there are some limitations to it, but i do think that this is how the retail version of the game treats it's tutorial. it's an old way of doing it and many games have found better ways to incorporate their tutorials into the story and/or gameplay. it's quite important to this game as this game does have some unique features.

the one i used the most in this demo was the auto function. i can set some tactics, but once i've put everyone on the field i can turn on auto and the game's battles will just play out them selves. it's a fun and accessible thing the game does, and when you couple that with the story of the game it lets the player chose to play it like a JRPG or like a Visual Novel. the only downside of the visual novel aspect is that i had to manually continue the conversations, unlike battle mode there's no auto function when characters are talking.

But the highlight was how the characters on the game world looked with their thick black lines and the character art. the art was great with a lot of detail and the black lines on their in-game models worked better than i imagined. it was easy to keep track of the characters in the game world and it just looked really cool.

But as a demo, it has such a disappointing tutorial. it's really bad and becomes a barrier to higher level play. i could understand how after playing this demo some people would be turned off and not want to buy the game. on the other hand tho, there are many good aspects of the demo like a decent story, intrigued, and the fact we only played the beginning of one of the two stories in the game. these are things that some people will find compelling and get the game afterwards. what ever your choice, just be aware that your save game will not be carried over to the retail version of the game.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Gunstar Heroes - Part 7 - The Final Part

Part 7 of playing Gunstar Heroes on PS3 is the final part of my playthrough of the game. in part 6, https://youtu.be/RKKnRQQN82A, i ended that video with a try at the final boss rush. in this video i completed that boss rush as well as the final boss battle.

i don't want to go into story spoilers here, you can choose whether or not to watch how the video ends. but what i will say is that i found the boss rush to be easier than some of the other parts of this play through. i was surprised that i managed to beat it, i think, on my third try. i was a little lucky that the game continued from the final boss and that it didn't send me back to the start of the boss rush.

at the end of the game, once it's all finished, i'm kinda left speechless. it's one of the hardest games i've ever completed. it's hard to say why i kept on going, i imagine there's a level of stubbornness behind it. Gunstar Heroes does have some good points, and from a technological standpoint it does some cool things. but it's difficulty is brutal and unbalanced. i can only recommend that if you're going to play Gunstar Heroes as part of the SEGA Vintage Collection on PlayStation 3 then set the difficult to the easiest.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Pixel Fenrir Cup Revival - 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  Pixel Fenrir Cup Revival! (2023/10/9 9:00~2023/10/16 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This week is the Pixel Fenrir Cup Revival. i have played this cup before, https://youtu.be/69Tg4WuUNFI. Much like this video, back then when i played there weren't many other players playing.

This week was disappointing as i only played against 1 other human. the last couple of cups have had fewer opponents, but i wasn't expecting to do a cup where i only played against 1 other person. Plus, i only played against them in the first game. after that, each game was against the computer. It maybe that i'll have to retire this programming in the not to distant future and do something new on Tuesdays, or move this to #Kofi.

As for this cup, it wasn't too difficult. i knew i had to make "L" shaped matches and i needed to add light and/or dark combos to it for the big score. But honestly, this wasn't one of my better cups. i got to the boss a few times but never came close to defeating it. it felt like i was moving much slower than normal, or that setting things up was taking too much time.

This week i played against:
なっとうぐんかん - Rank 8

Monday, October 9, 2023

Cloud Monday - Matterfall - Part 1 - Cloud Streaming Copes OK With All The Particles On Screen

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 1 of playing Matterfall, a PS4 game from Housemarque that came out in 2017. I wanted to see how this game would hold up being streamed from PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming as it has a lot of particles that, on services like YouTube, can appear to be blocky rather than the fine points of detail they are.

And for the most part, the PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming Service was able to cope with the, at times excessive, amounts of particles on screen at a time. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough that when the quality did drop and things got a bit blocky it wasn't too noticeable and not for very long.

The game has a mechanic that makes it a good choice to be streamed from the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Service. we know, and have seen, that the service will give you a 20 second warning when it'll kick you off. thankfully, Matterfall has, mostly regular, checkpoints. this means that you're either not too far from reaching one or haven't progressed far since your last one. because of this, i wasn't worried about loosing progress and felt relaxed continuing on. 

Whilst streaming it is fine, the game itself has it's own quirks that will take time to get used to. the one that annoyed me throughout the video was the control scheme. i feel like i never truly mastered it. the focus is on the R1 and L1 buttons and using them in combination and it's just something i've not really done in games. the other thing i mention a few times is how our weapon feels so weak right from the beginning. Hopefully i'll get more familiar with it in part 2, but for now this does make it more difficult whether or not to recommend the game 'cause on one hand it's game design means it's a great choice to stream but on the other hand it's gameplay feels lacking.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Switch Funday - Pokémon Unite - October's Unite Weekend

Today's Switch Funday video is on Pokémon Unite. as this is the first full weekend of October, it's a Unite Weekend. this means i'm able to use any Pokémon i want in the unranked online modes. my goal with these weekends is to try out several new Pokémon i don't have and hopefully find some new favorites. 

I was having a lot of fun during this weekend and ended up playing 7 games, that's why this video is longer than the others. this also meant i got to use 7 different pokemon. Zoroark was fun, but it's illusion gimmick isn't something i'm interested in. Blaziken was interesting as when you used it's unite move, it's other two moves would switch to the other two moves. it took a little time to work this out but it's kinda cool. I had more fun with Duraludon than i expected. not only does it look cool but it's moves were useful. Azumarill was another with useful moves, especially whirlpool. but it was goofy moving around. i was eager to try Trevenant but i don't think i fully understood how to use it, going with curse seemed like a bad idea. Leafeon was the big surprise and the Pokémon i enjoyed using the most. i enjoyed it soo much i actually bought it after i stopped recording! for the "bonus" extra match i wanted to try another eeveelution, Umbreon. but it didn't feel strong enough in the game i played. like Trevenant, it might be one i could try again with a different move set.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Online Saturday - Disney Speedstorm - Poor Tutorial And U.I Detract From Good Racing And Graphics

Welcome to Online Saturday.
For today's video i'm trying out the free to play Nintendo Switch game Disney Speedstorm. this game is out on other platforms and had been out for a little while before as something akin to a paid beta. but now it's free to play and i went in expecting a polished game with a robust selection of characters and tracks. unfortunately, wasn't the case.

The game starts with what looks like a good tutorial and across many sections it says what menus and stuff are. but it's because it looks so useful that when it turns out to not be comprehensive it comes across as a half finished tutorial. there are some basic stuff not covered by the tutorial, like the rails and jumps, some basic moves, like charged attacks, and things are made worse by some poor U.I choices.

one of the very first things the game asks you to do is choose your racing style. but it doesn't define what either is. you can change it in the menus later, but even then it doesn't give much more detail. this lack of detail is apparent throughout the U.I and a real missed opportunity to make the came more accessible and easy to understand. throughout the video i complain about many different aspects of the game that are poorly explained, if they are at all.

These choices give the game a feel of a mobile phone game. but in trying to be minimal and be useable across many devices, it has instead come across as a mobile game that's surprisingly not as accessible or as straightforward as you'd expect for a Disney title. it's almost like it has an identity crisis. a key example of that is how the game promotes energy drinks and uses them to level up characters. it's well documented how multiple energy drinks can be bad for health, so it having such a prominent use in this game is almost baffling and it doesn't really make much sense in the game's universe anyway.

Whilst the game has many issues, one of them isn't the racing itself. whilst there are things you'll have to work out yourself because the game won't tell, the core racing itself is good. but, in the beginning, it doesn't feel fast. instead of breaking the game into speed categories, your speed is determined by your character's stats. so the higher the level your character is the faster they'll go. i don't mind it, but i'm a little unsure as to whether or not the online multiplayer is going to be successfully balanced. the game does use drifting and it doesn't take long to get used to. each character has their own selection of weapons as well as a character specific move. for the offline races, it felt exciting, close, and it often came down to the wire. 

But, even tho it's an option on the main menu, you can't start with Online. you have to do a minimum of 9 offline races before you can unlock the Online mode. and even then it's only a ranked online mode. it felt very strange to me that the first online mode unlocked is ranked instead of unranked. the two online races i took part in felt unbalanced, with a couple racing ahead and none of use seemingly able to do anything, or the game giving us anything, to catch up to them. it didn't feel as fun or as balanced as the offline racing did and it's why i'm concerned that the online modes are going to be unbalanced. but having this be the first online mode people play feels like a quick way to turn people off online as it could just be not fun.

This might be a fun game to play offline, and if that's all you want to do then i would recommend the game. but if you're looking to play it online, then i wouldn't recommend the game and suggest you wait until the game is patched. not only because of how unbalanced the online felt, but also because it seemed like the online mode was struggling with there being disconnections and poor connections. i have no idea what region it's placed me in, so i can't comment if that's the reason. with the game in the state it's in, it feels like a shame that such fun core racing mechanics have been placed into a poorly designed mobile phone game. coupled with the weight of the Disney brand behind it, it's a case of what could've been.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Mobile Friday - Need for Speed No Limits - An Old Accessible Racing Game That’s Still Worth Playing

For Mobile Friday this week i tried out Need for Speed No Limits on iPhone14 Pro. this game was originally released back in 2015 on iOS and Android.

This is maybe the oldest game i've played for Mobile Friday. Honestly, it doesn't really show in a negative way. some of the more modern games i've played have issues with unexpected adverts or poor tutorials. This game has none of that. it's very accessible, and it does things more like a guide rather than a tutorial. every thing i unlocked would have a guide first to explain what it is. But the game often had another screen before the races explaining what is about to happen. as for the adverts, it was clear when i had the option to watch one to get an ingame reward.

If there is something that perhaps shows the game's age it possible some of the graphics. the cars are fine, the buildings are ok too. but the sky looked like it was painted and not very dynamic. it wasn't distracting, but it did look the worse in comparison to the rest of the game. but other than that, the game doesn't really feel old.

A bonus for playing a game this old is that there is a lot of content. the game has some simple ways to get players to come back, none of it in this video was a pain. it's possible that making progress will slow down the further you play and coming back repeatedly could get a bit frustrating as you'd have to do so often for only a little progress.

i do recommend this game. it's not only a good racing game but it's also a good mobile phone game. the races i took part in were all under a minute long and controlling the game was simple. touch and hold left or right to turn left or right. swipe up to activate the turbo. swipe town and turn to drift. this meant that i could play the game with just a finger on each hand. there didn't seem to be any additional downloads when starting the game for the first time either. the game is also still being supported, so if you used to play the game i'd recommend coming back and checking out all the additional content.

(Version 7.1.01 Played)

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - KAMiBAKO on PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of KAMiBAKO.  This DEMO, from developers Gravity Game Aris, is also out on PC via Steam.

The listing for this game on the PSN store is light on detail so it would only be once i started playing that i would learn about the game. or so i thought. in this hour i played, i didn't learn as much of the world and my character as i expected i would. but at least i did learn how to play the game.

That's where this game gets interesting as it has a few unique elements. the first one you'll encounter is how the world map is a flat 2d thing that your 3d character stand on. until you move onto a square, that the 2d map is broken up into, as then that square becomes 3d and stays 3d. it's fun what it happens but it also means it's easy to see where you've been or not.

The other interesting thing about this game is that you don't battle. instead, you manage the mana of your team mates. each turn of battle you can give mana to a team mate. once they have enough, they can unleash a powerful attack. but whilst they're waiting for the mana or instruction to use their powerful attack, they are still attacking the enemy. personally, i've not seen a game do this before but i have seen card games do something similar in that by using up a gathered energy you can put cards down. as it's different it did take a little bit of time to get used to, but now i've played it i'm interested to see how that mechanic works in practice.

The game wants you to use the mana and special attacks so makes it easy to gather it. you earn a small amount each turn in battle but you can also farm it from each square on the world map. it's here that we get the final interesting aspect of this game's mechanics and story. the world is suffering from fragmentation, this leaves areas of the map unpassable until you've fixed it. when you try to fix it, the world shifts to a room and the square becomes a puzzle on your desk. you need to match a certain amount of colors within either a time limit or move limit. once you're successful, the square on the world map returns to normal and you can travel on it.

This demo for KAMiBAKO does have some issues. they range from technical ones where the frame pacing feels all over the place to issues with the English script not reading right or even not appearing at all. there was one time where another language was on screen. But despite the many issues with the demo, i do feel it's a good demo as i'm interested in the game because of it's uniqueness. but the game itself does have issues, too. the demo shows there's a lot of copy and paste, whether it's map tiles, city buildings, or even character models and character art. the story isn't told that well, there's still a lot unknown and due to the English script not being great it even contradicts it self a little. so whilst the demo was interesting, the game could potentially still have these issues and that's why i'd wait and see if the reviews highlight them. it's possible that as this is a demo, the game will have been improved. but i have a feeling that the game will be largely similar to the demo.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Backlog Conquering - Gunstar Heroes - Part 6 - Completing The Empire's Space Craft

Part 6 of playing Gunstar Heroes on PS3 was interesting as it introduced a new gameplay mechanic. the first part of this video takes place in space. i'm in my space ship and the game is a side scrolling shoot-'em-up. for the most part it's not too bad nor too difficult. but it has one very weird control method. my ship always faces forward, so to change the direction of the guns i have to move the ship in the direction i want the guns to shoot and then fire the guns. i didn't really master it, instead i changed tactics to avoid incoming fire more than destroy them. 

the second part of the video takes place on the ship. it looks like it has crash landed so the action is similar to the previous parts. it's a short sequence before i had to fight 3 new bosses! each one, technologically speaking, looked great and interesting, but they all had their own frustrations. especially the first boss who had an annoying attack where it swept across the bottom of the screen, getting faster and faster, whilst machines attacked from above.

Defeating the 3 bosses is the end of the Space Craft section. so, to end this video i had a quick go at what looks like the final level of the game. it's a boss rush mode with some tricky platforming between each boss. it looks tough!

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Athena Helios Cup Revival - 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 Athena Helios Cup Revival! (2023/10/2 9:00~2023/10/9 8:59 JST) in Puzzle & Dragons: Nintendo Switch Edition whilst using a GamePad and a docked Nintendo Switch.

This week is the Athena Helios Cup Revival. i have played this cup before, https://youtu.be/Axk_VmmcLE0. back in the day, this was one of my shorter videos.

This week was as competitive as recent weeks, as you can see below there weren't too many other players online when i was playing. the rules this week were simple, make a + shape. But it also felt like the enemies health was also upped so i didn't seem to make too much progress. a couple of games didn't go well for me, but for most of it i was still competitive and finishing in the top 3. It didn't look like many other players managed to beat the boss this week, i didn't, but i did get to the boss a few times.

This week i played against:
マロン - Rank 69
ころん - Rank 72
ほれぁ - Rank 76
キグナス - Rank 67

Monday, October 2, 2023

Cloud Monday - West of Dead - Part 2 - A Great Game To Stream From PlayStation Plus

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 2 of playing West of Dead from Upstream Arcade. I'm playing this game on the PS4 via the PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service.

Part 1 did go too well. you check out that video at https://youtu.be/KltyL6NREyA, but long story short, the game was fine, it was the cloud streaming service that caused me a lot of issues. i'd recommend giving that video a look as it'll contrast greatly against this video as part 2 was almost the polar opposite of part 1.

As streaming it was soo much better, i was able to sit back and enjoy the game more. i already recognised that the game design worked well on the service, so it was nice to simply play and trust that even if i got kicked off the service, the loss wouldn't be that great.

I made more progress and went deeper into purgatory. it was fun trying out different weapons, i particularly enjoyed a flare fun, and when i got the rune to travel from save point to save point i felt like it really opened up the possibilities and gave more reasons to explore.

There are a lot of positives with this game. the obvious one is just how great it looks. even when the stream drops to 720p or less, the game still has it's unique look. It controls well and is very responsive. the only issue i have is perhaps more a skill level complaint in that i just find it difficult to aim and hit enemies. i feel that i would've liked more of a lock on or perhaps a slight rumble with the controller. across both videos, my aim isn't great. the stories a little light, but i can give the game some benefit of doubt as it could also be that due to not being great at it i've maybe not gone far enough, or because the rooms are randomised each run i've just not found the place where i learn more about the game's story.

It's not the perfect game to be played from PlayStation Plus Premium Cloud Streaming Service, but it's certainly up there as one of the best. it suffers when the resolution drops and things become unreadable. but other than that, it works well. save points are frequent, but as it's a run based game, the only progress you'd loose at worst is just 1 run. as a rouge lite, i'd recommend it over Rogue Legacy 2 simply because of the more frequent saves.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Switch Funday - Tetris 99 - 35th Maximus Cup - Xenoblade Chronicles 3

For Switch Funday i went back to Tetris 99 to take part in the 35th Maximus Cup. This cup has a Xenoblade Chronicles 3 theme for those who get the 100 points needed to complete it. it took me 5 games to get the theme, with the 6th game being a bonus game where i tried to commentate and also play.

It's great to see how popular Tetris 99 continues to be. it took very little time to find a game. it's also fun to see how competitive the game continues to be. i didn't get to the top 10, but i got top 25 a few times. some games felt like they took a long time whilst others went by very fast.