Sunday, February 4, 2024

Switch Funday - Pokémon Unite - February’s Unite Weekend

Today's Switch Funday video is on Pokémon Unite. as this is the first full weekend of February, it's a Unite Weekend. this means i'm able to use any Pokemon 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.

Today, i played at the Shivre City map, it's a 4 vs 4 map so it's a little different from the other Unite Weekend videos i've done. So i came away from this weekend not really feeling great about any of the Pokémon i used. Crustle was a surprise and i scored a lot with it. I don't think i understood Hoopa, and Garchomp didn't seem to have a great selection of moves. Mewtwo was fine, Blissey wasn't, and ending with Lucario was alright but it never felt as strong as i thought it should be.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Switch Funday - Splatoon 3 - February's Eggstra Work Event

Welcome to Switch Funday!

This weekend is February's Eggstra Work Event in Splatoon 3 on Switch. I haven't had much luck with the previous events so i came into this just wanting to get a decent score, one i felt satisfied with, a 1,000 points for the Gatchapon, and if possible finishing Wave 5.

In the end, none of the teams i was on were able to beat Wave 5, but the rest of the goals were met. I say at the beginning that the start of the video is going to be full of failure and things would get better on near the end and that was true. I don't watch videos of the event before i play, i go in knowing nothing. i just hope for a good weapon selection and good team mates to learn with. Match 4 was the start of things getting good and it mostly continued like that from that point on. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Mobile Friday - Dream Detective: Merge Game - The Choice To Wait Or Pay To Play Came Far Too Soon

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Dream Detective: Merge Game, from Century Games on my iPhone 14 Pro. This game is also out on Android and PC. 

The app store page for Dream Detective: Merge Game immediately grabbed my attention with it's beautiful colorful art. i was instantly curious whether this is purely for the app store or if the game looked this good. from the screenshots i instantly knew what kind of game parts of it would be, but i was keen to find out how it could combine detective gameplay with merge game play. But the developers #CenturyGames also make another game i'm familiar with called Whiteout Survival. I've been bombarded with ads for that game for a long time now and it had garnered a reputation that the ads don't match the gameplay.

Thankfully in starting the game it was clear that the artstyle is used in game and it looks fantastic.  unfortunately, that's about all the praise i can give Dream Detective: Merge Game. the tutorial is bad and seems to give up almost immediately. in about 15 minutes i had finished what i could do in the game. it left me with the choice of waiting 2 hours or paying with gems to continue. This sucked for me, someone who was starting the game for the first time, as the game had done nearly nothing to prove to me that i should continue and not delete it. 

And that's one of the games biggest problems. i only knew about the size of the game world because i had a look, the game did nothing to convey it to me. the game has done nothing to show off the detective gameplay teased in the app store pictures. the game has done nothing to explain the 3 currencies in the game. i've worked out 2, but i have no idea about the third. Because the time was soo short, the game hadn't really begun and it was already asking us to wait or pay to continue without ever justifying why.

Dream Detective: Merge Game is a game i can't recommend unless you're OK playing the game for 10 minutes every few hours. It's introduction to first time players is almost rude in how poorly designed it is. in this series, games typically allow players to do a lot in the beginning before slowing down and a grind beginning or the player running out of energy. often that's about 30 minutes, plenty of time for players to learn the mechanics, get the back story, and have an idea where things are going to go forward. But Dream Detective: Merge Game gave me none of that, and even less when you compare with what's seen in the app store. 

(Version 10.0 Played)

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Jett Rider On #Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Jett Rider. This game, from developers Last Chicken Games is out now across various platforms.

The screenshots for this demo showed the game to be a platformer, but after some rough platforming with Aaru's Awakening,, i hadn't been keen to jump into another platformer. But i was also curious as i could be missing out on a decent platformer. But once i knew this was a platformer, i figured it would be a great game to try for Demo Play Thursday.

The main menu is bare bones, it does say it's a demo but that's all the information we get. there are no links to the eShop page, no mention as to what's in the demo, nor is there a trailer for the game. so i did go in not knowing how long things were going to be.

When it starts, one of the first things i noticed was how much was on screen. many pixel art games tend to zoom in on the main character, meaning there's not much extra above, below, or to the sides. but here, i was impressed by the scale of it. It's another game that starts and then jumps back in time, but Jett Rider doesn't take itself too serious so i wasn't too bothered by it.

One thing i mention throughout the video is how lacking the tutorial was. it's decent at the start but then it kinda stops before it's finished explaining how things work or where everything is. This game does feel like one where exploring and dying are gameplay mechanics and a half finished tutorial like this one is actually better than you'd get in other games with similar mechanics. There is a theme of the game perhaps not doing enough to give the player information. an example that comes up in the video is that we level up, the game says our stats are better, but we never get to see those stats. as the player, when anything is improved we have no way of quantifying the improvements, for the most part we only have the word of the game. I did notice with the weapons that when we upgraded them, visually we were able to see a difference in the firing and the larger numbers coming of enemies.

Having accepted that exploring and dying are part of the game, one key factor for me is how long does it take to restart and where it happens. Jett Rider does not have an auto save, it's only manual and only at specific places in the map. so if you explore in the wrong direction from one of these, you could restart and loose progress. i died a few times in this video. a couple of times i died close to the save point. but the other times when i died further away were not fun.

As well as the great visuals and art, i also enjoyed the weapons. each one is visually different, and each has some information saying what they're suited for. using each one was fun. this meant that when i had 4 weapons unlocked and could only use 2, it felt like the un fun choice. Ratchet and Clank is famous for it's cool weapons and lets the user choose which one to use with a radial menu. i wanted this game to have a radial menu so i could have all the weapons. But you can only swap weapons at specific points.

As a demo, it's good. we get some back story, enough of a tutorial, and a decent sample of platforming, enemies, and boss fights. i feel like i could get the game and enjoy it. but the demo also makes me feel like i wouldn't finish it. at each point we reached, new enemies or stronger versions of enemies we had met were introduced. This kept happening so by the time i ended the demo, i was concerned that the game would move away from puzzle/exploration platformer to more of a survival/shooter platformer and getting more difficult. 

I would recommend the game after trying the demo. but i would make it clear that i think it's going to get tough. and it's because of this i probably won't be getting the game but, again, it's not because it's bad it's just because i feel like it's going to be hard in a way i won't enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition - Quest Mode - Dungeon 13 - Epody Grove

Welcome to one of the final Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday videos! 
With the series being retired on YouTube and finishing over on Ko-Fi,, i'm celebrating by showing off the Quest Mode.

This video is part 5 and it shows the 13th Dungeon, the Epody Grove. the closer i get to the final dungeon, the harder these are becoming and the more time they're taking. So, unless i'm able to defeat a dungeon quickly, the remaining few dungeons will come one at a time.

Come back next week for what will be the 14th Dungeon.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Cloud Monday - LEGO City: Undercover - Part 1 - No Manual Saves And Infrequent Auto Saves

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 1 of playing the PS4 version of Tt Fusion's LEGO City: Undercover via the PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming Service to my Japanese launch model PlayStation 4.

I've wanted to play this game since it came out on the Wii U. So when it came out on PlayStation Plus, i was eager to finally give it a go. Sometimes i choose games for specific reasons, to test the limits of the service. but this time it's purely just for me. But i do try to focus on the important details.

Today's stream quality wasn't great, but the Internet Speed Test i did at the end was fine. it's one reason why i play the game twice, on different days, so i can see whether it's indicative of the game's stream or down to issues my end. Nothing truly got in the way of gameplay, but the stream tearing came closet. Some moments of macro blocking I had occurred whilst subtitles were on screen and that made them unreadable. I was unclear if the intro cinematic looked soft because of the stream, like maybe a reduction in bit rate or resolution, or if it's just how it is as it's a port of a Wii U game.

I didn't feel any lag in the controls, but driving does take time to get used to in LEGO City: Undercover. The biggest disappointment has to be that there are no manual saves. the game does have auto saves, but i personally felt that they were not frequent enough. at the end, i'm trying to get an auto save so i know it's safe to end the game. I showed that if you quit, the game quits. there is no save. there isn't a message saying when the last save is either.

So whilst i found the game funny, and i enjoyed playing it for the most part. i can't say that LEGO City: Undercover is a good game to stream from the cloud because of the save issues. when you're playing on a service that gives a 20 second warning before kicking you off, i doubt you'll be able to trigger an auto save and you will loose progress.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Switch Funday - Palia - The First Hour

For Switch Funday i'm trying out the free to play Switch, and PC, game Palia , from developers Singularity 6, for the first time. Going into this game i didn't really know much more about it other than there would be some gathering mechanics and farming as i had seen them on the eShop.

I appreciated that it was quick to get from the start screen into gameplay. the game gives us a choice if we want to create a Singularity 6 account so we can link Palia on Nintendo Switch with the PC version. i chose not to and it was straight to a character create screen. I thought the amount of customisation here was the right amount. i felt like i could create something visually nice, possibly distinct, whilst also not feeling overwhelmed by too much choice. i also appreciated how quick the different looks and styles loaded in. it helped make the whole thing feel quick. some of the buttons are small and it may not be immediately obvious how to change some colors.

There was little fanfare when we join the game world. we slightly startled a character, but she was quick to mention we weren't the first human to arrive and essentially told us to go elsewhere. this was not what i expected. I, the player, had soo many questions whereas both my ingame character and the other character seemed not to care. this bugged me throughout the hour as i was continuously looking for story, for the why, for the how, and the game just never gave it to me. 

I found this attitude really puzzling. if there are many humans just appearing, why wasn't there one to welcome me. it would've made the journey from the cave to the town more meaningful and maybe even offer some basic answers, or at the very least set up the next phase of the game. the town's people seem pleased a new human has appeared but not exactly enthusiastic about it. they're more than happy to set me busy work whilst also offering no story and no reason to drive forward.

The first hour ends with the next day arriving and more things to keep us busy. But there's no hint as to what the story is. it feels like we have to do what the town's people quest us to do "because". that's where i feel having a human, or someone sympathetic, meet with us in the beginning would help. they could explain things, encourage us to get settled, say there'll be time to uncover everything. But as it is. this first hour felt like we were just doing quests to get things done, for busy work. it almost feels like the developers had a core gameplay loop, had an idea for the start, but no link between the two.

What's noticeable about playing Palia on Switch is how much the game is pushing up against the limits of the console. at times, the pop-in was very close to my character. and this isn't just stuff in the background but it's also textures. The water especially looks weird, almost like it's thick. But that could be a stylistic choice. In general, the game looks decent on Switch. the pop-in is noticeable but it doesn't affect gameplay. But the stuttering framerate/frame pacing was noticeable and got in the way of my enjoyment of playing the game. it didn't always happen, but it felt like it did.

There are small complaints throughout playing this video but nothing that sticks out as a game breaker. with this being a free to play game that gets updates, there's hope that things could improve. but as they are now, Palia isn't a game i'd recommend to everyone. But if you're looking for a slower pace of game, a world where you can fish, farm, gather, and build, then Palia is worth checking out. it may not be for me, but i can think of a few people i know who would enjoy playing it.