Animal Crossing New Leaf, Beetle Runs

Listen up, Animal Crossing New Leaf fans. Even if you feel the need to relax and enjoy life at your own pace, you still need cash, and in order to do cash, you need to work! However, with a little strategy of mine, you can make several million Bells on the first day of having unlocked the Island Resort. You pay 1,000 to spend 40 minutes earning 350,000. That is the short version. Here is the long version.

The Island unlocks a little less than a week into playing, so long as you’ve done all the tutorial gimmicks and recommended Mayor actions. Be sure to talk to Isabelle! The more stuff you get done, the faster you get the island. Or take it slow, your call. If Isabelle tells you to talk to Tortimer at the dock, your time has come.

The island is a cut-off mini-area that is permanently locked in Summer, and always spawns rare insects and fish. There are some cheapos hidden in the mix, but for the most part, it’s dosh with wings and fins. You can’t take your inventory, and instead are given an Island inventory with a standard 16 item slots and NO extra letter inventory. There’s a little woven basket near the exit/entrance to the Island; put all the goods you want to bring back to the mainland inside before doing Tours (which I won’t discuss) or going home (which I also won’t discuss, because it is just going home).

Animal Crossing New Leaf

You will be performing what I like to call “Beetle Runs.” Runs can begin as early as 7:00p.m., but I highly recommend starting after 9:00p.m., because by this time the cheap locusts stop spawning. There are three types of runs, which I will organize in descending order of time consumption and profitability. In each list, I will tell you the names of targeted bugs, their value, what trees they spawn on, what they look like, and how cautiously you should approach them. Each step down adds bugs to the overall capture agenda, by the by. So if list one says Cyclommatus Stag and list two says Emperor Butterfly, list two contains Cyclommatus and Emperor.

Clean Run: 30-50 min, yields ~350,000 if all 40 Island box slots are full.

  • Cyclommatus Stag, 8,000. Palm trees. Very large pincers. Least jumpy of all cash beetles; possible to approach at a full-speed walk and catch.
  • Horned Atlas, 8,000. Palm trees. Black, three small horns. Approach with net raised, but do not push the analog stick all the way when close.
  • Horned Elephant, 8,000. Palm trees. Yellowish, black dot near head. Average jumpiness; approach with net raised. Full-speed sneak works.
  • Golden Stag, 12,000. Palm trees. Gold, small. Approach with net up, and only move the analog stick slightly. Full speed sneak scares them away.
  • Horned Hercules, 12,000. Palm trees. Gold, huge brown horn. EXTREMELY JUMPY. Barely budge the analog stick with net raised.
  • Rainbow Stag, 10,000. Normal trees. Green body with upper white patch. Fairly jumpy; approaching with net raised should suffice.
  • Giant Stag, 10,000. Normal trees. Large, blackish purple. Pretty darn jumpy, but a full-speed sneak should still work.

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Dirty Run: 25-40 min, yields ~250,000

  • Goliath Beetle, 6,000. Palm trees. Red and white. Average jumpiness. Full-speed net sneak works like a charm.
  • Emperor Butterfly, 2,500. Blue wings. Only spawn near flowers, so get rid of flowers if you don’t want them to spawn. They don’t vanish and take up spawn slots if left alone. Catch and release, or reload the area by entering the cabana.

Inexcusably Filthy Run: 15-30 min, yields ~100,000

  • Just catch whatever you see. I don’t care about fish, but you can catch those too if you want. Beetles are easier/faster/more reliable.

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Finally, I’ll give you some tips on how to properly perform Beetle Runs.

  • Plant a crap-ton of palm trees and a stark few normal trees (3-4).
  • Clear the trees from the lower beach part of your island.
  • Because beetles are the least jumpy when approached from the front of the tree they’re sitting on (when the beetle faces the player).
  • And it’s easier to see them at a distance.
  • Always move slowly; jumpy beetles can be scared away while offscreen.
  • When in doubt, swap cheapos out.
  • And most importantly, remember what time Re-Tail closes.

Animal Crossing New Leaf

With this guide, you’ll be absolutely ROLLING in the dosh. Yes, it may get a little tedious, but let me put things into perspective… 1,000,000 Bells in three Clean Runs. Now get beetling!   

Xbox 360 or Ps3?

Well, it’s that time again. Time for the next-gen consoles to come out. Time for everyone to argue about which one is better and which one is just the same as the last only with a new name. Personally, I’ve gotten sick of all that console crap and moved to PC while still enjoying the fun new releases on the Nintendo 3DS, but for the sake of a legitimate comparison, let’s ask… Xbox 360 or Ps3?

To clear up any bias you may pick up from my comparison, I’ve owned a Ps3 much longer than I have an Xbox 360 (which was stolen), and because of that I really don’t have a choice when it comes to picking one or the other. That ALSO means that I didn’t get very much experience with updated Xbox 360 software, which creates quite a gap in experience levels, but I’ll still try my best to remain objective.

 

So, let’s take a look at the Ps3. Black, sleek, and somewhat bulky, this console said, “Save everything directly to me, I don’t need no memory card.” Depending on how much you spent, your total memory available would swell or shrink. If you went with the cheapest Ps3 but wound up loving a lot of game, that meant you had to pick and choose which games to delete once you started running out of room.

However, the Ps3’s free internet capabilities and user friendly online store compensated for most of its drawbacks. Not that it had a terrible lot. Only once did the disk drive in my four year old Ps3 fail, and one quick refurbish made sure it didn’t ever happen again. If you didn’t bash your Ps3 about or drop it or kick it, it probably lasted until you grew bored of it. Software stability was the same deal; unless you quit while saving, the Ps3 wouldn’t accidentally corrupt something on startup.

One of the Ps3’s greatest assets was being able to choose – from the get-go – between having your controller be wired or wireless. With two USB ports that acted as charging docks, you could plug in your controllers and play like you did in the Ps2 days, or unplug and play from wherever. Being able to choose was huge.

 

On the other side of the ring, the Xbox 360. This console required monthly payment in order to access online features, which was already a bit of a drawback for users who wanted a “one time pay” on their consoles. Of course, as far as console loyalty goes, Xbox fans didn’t mind the regular payments. I did, so I never enjoyed Xbox Live.

The “red ring of death” was so common that it bordered a running joke. Perhaps it was the symbolic doom the red ring embodied. Perhaps the Xbox 360’s hardware wasn’t up to par. Then again, it’s common practice to build something that only lasts a few months/years before needing replacement these days. Build ‘em to break and pick up some more cash with refurbs or replacements, eh? I never experienced the red ring of death, either because I took care of my Xbox 360 or it was stolen before it could break down. Who can say?

Having the Xbox 360 controllers eat up batteries wasn’t the best design choice, in my opinion. It’s hardly a dealbreaker, but you had to buy recharge cables separately if you wanted to play the Xbox 360 while having your controllers plugged in. Some parts not included. If I had to choose between wireless AND wired OR only wireless from the moment I unbox, I’d have to choose the former. Hands down.

The final issue, or rather, one of the more predominant rumors, is that Ps3 has no games, and Xbox 360 is the king of games. That’s obviously wrong, and I’m not even going to bother telling you why, suffice it to say I have a bookshelf full of Ps3 games, each of which I still play if the need hits me. I had the same thing with my Xbox 360, too! They were both the kings of games. Sure, some had exclusives, but who cares? There were plenty to choose from on both sides.

 

Alright, it seems like I did wind up favoring the Ps3 more than the Xbox 360 in the end, but I hope we can agree that my bias was clearly articulated. Whereas many see “console wars,” I just see two rather different means of playing video games, one of which is more convenient than the other. So, if you want to buy a soon-to-be last-gen console for a reasonable price, with all the convenience and games you could ask for, I’d highly recommend the Ps3. Free online capability, comes with all the components you need, and die-hard hardware AND software. There you have it.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf, A No Life New Life

Let the record show that I’ve played the original Animal Crossing for the Gamecube and Wild World for the DS. I skipped out on City Life because I heard it really wasn’t all that good of an expansion on the series. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, however, is everything the old games were and plenty more. If you are a fan of the Animal Crossing games and own or are interested in owning a 3DS, you absolutely must get New Leaf. It is amazing. But enough of this vague assertion of quality jibber-jabber.

The original Animal Crossing formula was pretty simple: Buy a house from Tom Nook, get indebted to him, and work your ass off trying to pay him back. You caught bugs, you fished fish, you sold fruit; anything to rake in the cash. When you stumbled across rares, you had to debate whether to donate them to the museum or to turn them into mountains of cash. The main thrill came from shopping for clothes and furniture, as that allowed you to decorate your character and home. Maybe you cared about picking weeds and planting flowers, maybe you didn’t.

New Leaf is much more macro, presenting more content than you can swing a net at. This time around, you become mayor of your small country village. That’s… a lot of responsibility. Now, not only do you need to please your citizens and keep your town beautiful, you also need to begin public works projects and expansions to improve living conditions. Er, aesthetic appeal. And functionality.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Speaking of expansion, there are two aspects in particular that I’d like to cover. These are personal favorites of mine. The first is the new clothing. At first it was just shirts, hats, and accessories, right? With boys and girls restricted to, shall we say, “gender appropriate garb” that can only have its pattern changed. Now, in addition to the old, you can change your pants, shoes, and socks, as well as purchase and wear dresses, skirts, tank tops, and long sleeved shirts. Zero restrictions. Want a guy in a dress? You got it! Tomboy in plaid shorts? You betcha! Progressive Able Sisters, eh? I love it.

Second up is the island resort. You get it on the seventh day of playing, I believe. It’s Kapp’n’s grand return! 1,000 Bells for a round trip, but that’s pocket change. The island is where you’ll discover the joy of free diving in a rented wet suit. Even better, practically all the deep sea creatures, fish, and bugs are rare. If you pick and choose, you can rake in upwards of 300,000 Bells by spending 1,000.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

The island also has its own shop containing unique items. They cost medals, though, which are won by playing mini-games alone or with friends, called “island tours.” Tortimer watches as you bust your ass doing silly things like catching lots of bugs or bopping a machine with a squeaky hammer. The available tours change every day, as do the available items, so visit regularly. You may even be able to buy your own wet suit. Deep sea diving in your town! Yay!

With all the money you’ll be bringing in will allow you to focus on more than your home loan. You can initiate public works projects by talking to your secretary dog, Isabelle. These range from new structures placed on the map to expansions on Main Street. Some are merely pretty, and some give you access to features like K.K. Slider concerts, new emotes, and silver tier tools. Be sure to build often, because it increases citizen satisfaction. The good news is, if you build something you regret, you can just demolish and replace it with a recently unlocked, superior structure.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Send lots of letters, speak to your townsfolk, enact ordinances for 20,000 Bells, check item rotations, and above all else enjoy being mayor, you sexy beast. I give this game ten outta ten for turning over a New Leaf and growing into something truly cute and amazing. HAH. I waited all review to make that pun. Heh, heheh, read the alt review and get playin’, you!

Jason Rodman of ApartmentTherapy is a big fan of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. He loves it! Casually addicting is a perfect phrase to hear when reading a video game review, and if it weren’t for the fact that I already own the game, I’d be convinced to buy it. Then again, I’m already a huge no-lifer when it comes to Animal Crossing games, so… Hopefully you come to feel that way too! About yourself, not about me. Here’s the link:  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/animal-crossing-new-leaf-review-game-lab-192205  

Fire Emblem: Awakening Tips and Tricks

Greetings, fellow Fire Emblem: Awakening fanatics! How’s life on the warpath? Are you in need of some general tips with which to better your strategy and avoid watching your units get swarmed and murdered? I’ll assume yes, because if you don’t need help you’ll probably just bail. I have quite a lineup of tips prepared for you, so I’ll organize them into three subcategories: battle, long-term, and money management. The only instance in which these tips won’t apply is if you play on Lunatic difficulty. Everything is different if you play on Lunatic. Here it comes, commander!

Battle tips first!

  • If your army has low ranged firepower, highlight all ranged foes. It’ll help you keep tabs on them so your melee units don’t get vectored.
  • Abuse choke points. If the opposing army has few to no flying units, you can force them into a one or two-unit wide standoff. In this position, you can keep your healers in the back and rotate out damaged blockers.
  • Holding a fort isn’t worthwhile if the position is swarmed. A 20% heal won’t save your unit’s life if they’re tanking four attacks per turn.
  • Kill thieves at all costs. Money is hard to come by early on, so rare items obtained from chests can be invaluable.
  • If you see a character that looks like a possible recruit (i.e. unique design), see if Chrom can speak to them.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Now long-term tips!

  • Most guides to ignore Frederick so you don’t wind up having to rely on him. I say you should remove his weapons and partner him with someone who you want to level. Free stats for them and a potential damage block.
  • Powerlevel Chrom. He needs to be in the front lines so he can speak to possible recruits and activate other events.
  • Use Master Seals on your healers as quickly as possible so they can fight back. The AI is hard-coded to prioritize units that cannot counterattack. Namely, unarmed healers and archers who cannot attack at melee range.
  • Stockpile permanent stat boosters for units who have particularly low chances to gain specific stats. Talismans are the most valuable, as Resistance is typically a low gain on most units.
  • Make sure to have a few defensible/dodgy units with Locktouch.
  • Abuse Sol (Hero level 5) and Galeforce (Dark Flier level 15, female class)

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Finally, money management tips! These are for people who do not wish to purchase the DLC “Golden Gaffe,” and who do not wish to grind Reeking Boxes.

  • Shelf Manakete and Taguel units unless you have a good amount of gold. Beaststones and Dragonstones are expensive as all get out.
  • Save rare weapons for battles you think will be challenging, even it only means a few points of durability. Use Arms Scrolls as needed.
  • Armsthrift will save you loads in the long run. Put it on characters with naturally high Luck and prepare for infinite weapon durability. Pair Armsthrift users with War Clerics/Priests, Tricksters, and Falcon Knights.

 

Concluding tip. If you want DLC, get Rogues and Redeemers 3 for the Limit Breaker ability, and Infinite Regalia for the renewable legendary weapons. That’s all! When I finish my Lunatic run and Apotheosis, I’ll post a few more pieces of sage advice.

Rogue Legacy Takes Gold To Make Gold

I’ve never played the original Rogue game that the term “roguelike” stemmed from, but the general idea is that roguelike means hard as balls, man. Since I have such a weak grasp of the term, I couldn’t tell you if Rogue Legacy is roguelike or not, but it is, as I so elegantly put it, hard as balls, man. I don’t mean difficulty alone, either. This slash-em-up reaction time platformer is draining to play for extended periods, and despite it’s cute little quirks, it’s dead set on inciting as many irked sighs and eye rolls from you as possible. So, let’s talk.

Rogue Legacy is about an old hero who went through an enchanted (cursed) castle and became a corrupted king. Now, your family must destroy this king and bring peace to the kingdom. Simple? Hell to the no. Your family is a ragtag band of inbred miscreants that call themselves knights, and you’ll go through them so fast you won’t even get to choose favorites. You throw bodies at the castle until you clear four bosses and the final boss, got it? Good.

I’m not messing around about the inbred thing. Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m being a biological elitist, having a disease doesn’t make you a freak. But when you have a family that consistently has baldness, no foot pulse, irritable bowel syndrome, tunnel vision, vertigo, Alzheimer’s, giantism, dwarfism, inability to feel pain, and many other genetic defects, you start to wonder what the hell’s going on. Oh, you don’t get it? These are the quirks. Each descendant of your line randomly acquires some nifty diseases. Every time you die, you get to choose between three of ‘em. If the game wasn’t such a pain in the ass, they could raise a grin or two. But… yeah.

Rogue Legacy

Death. If you die, the castle jumbles up and resets (bosses stay dead). If you want to keep the castle the same, your income is reduced to 30%. If you want back into the castle, you have to pay Charon all of your gold. Like saving up? Too bad, this game doesn’t want you to without spending stupid amounts of money in order to let Charon leave you with even 5%. Thankfully, you like having to grind up increasingly large sums in order to purchase miniscule perks, right?

Now that’s all well and good, but what is money for? Why, upgrades and equipment, of course. Lots and lots! Of upgrades. If you buy an upgrade, all other upgrades cost 10 gold more, or something around there. What I’m saying is, buy upgrades until you can’t afford to, and then focus on equipment. Or focus on equipment then buy upgrades. Just be aware that this game is trying to trick you into thinking that it’s not wasting your time with laborious grinding, yeah? They’re permanent, so you can be a little happy if you like.

Rogue Legacy

Fairy chests. These contain runes. Runes can be applied to equipment to give you nifty abilities, like dashing, extra jumps, awful lifesteal, and short-term flight. You have to buy runes after unlocking them, by the way. Ha ha, fuck you. So, fairy chests. These guys are set in rooms with random unlock requirements. Sometimes you have to reach them as quickly as possible. Sometimes you have to kill all enemies in the room. Take no damage is by far the worst, as the obstacle courses would try jaded platformer enthusiasts. I guarantee that you’ll find the fairy chests annoying, because they often make themselves accessible via the use of one specific feature, i.e. only flight will get you through unharmed, only a no-knockback trait will get you to the chest in time, only a vertical spell will let you hit an awkwardly placed foe… Ugh. Rolling my eyes even thinking about it.

Long story short, the diseases and the higher level of difficulty are the only things that truly set this game apart from other platformers. Maybe you’re looking for a challenge, though? If so, please do believe me when I say the game is designed to draw itself out. If you’re looking for content quality beyond difficulty… maybe you’ll get a cheap laugh when your IBS afflicted character farts when they jump? Ah ha… ha?

Rogue Legacy

Advice? Get to the Miner class as quickly as possible and play them as often as possible. Get loaded. Get lifesteal. Get Lich. Play Lich, win, bing, bang, boom!

Hell if this isn’t a contrast. Mitchell Saltzman of GameFront tossed a 90/100 Rogue Legacy’s way. Perhaps I’ve delved into a much-loved genre where difficulty means more than creativity? Alright, well, if you think you’ll like the game and disagree with many of the opinions that I’ve sprayed all over the face of this indie platformer, then you deserve a much more positive review. Viola! Your new muse: http://www.gamefront.com/rogue-legacy-review/

(Addendum: Surrogate “easily frustrated” with “easily bored by repetition” and you’ll better understand my perspective.)

Scribblenauts Unlimited, Creative Overload

I didn’t really didn’t plan on getting Scribblenauts Unlimited. If it weren’t for the fact that I happened to run across it during a 75% off Steam Summer Sale, I probably would have been just fine with Super Scribblenauts on the DS. Hell, I spent more time in the start screen sandbox than I did the actual game. Unlimited changes a few vital mechanics, making it PC friendly, though it’s also available on the 3DS.

The tale behind this pinnacle of resourcefulness is that Maxwell and his sister Lily were using their magic notebooks selfishly. One day, Maxwell came across a hungry old man, and fed him a rotten apple as a joke. In a fury, the old man cursed Lily, causing her to turn to stone unless Maxwell obtained Starite by helping others. To my knowledge, this is the most backstory a Scribblenauts game has ever had. Doesn’t mean you can’t ignore it and make meteors and tsunamis and black holes, though.

Things are different this time around. You can click objects and people, open the notebook menu, and apply adjectives right to them. You can edit objects, or create your own. You can store objects inside your bottomless backpack! You can even apply adjectives to Maxwell! Holy crap! I don’t recommend making him go nuclear, though. If you die to one of your twisted abominations, you can either continue with the stage as it was when you died, reset it completely, or just leave the game.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

The world is divided into separate, interconnected stages containing Starite shards and whole Starites. You can use your Starite vision to see who needs help, and then click them for a tip, while missions are presented as characters with blank Starites over their heads. Progression is defined by collection. The more you get, the more stages open up, and the further Lily’s petrifaction progresses.

You meet all of Maxwell’s siblings along the way, unlocking most if not all of them as “skins.” This replaces the generic created object skins from Super Scribblenauts. Since they share Maxwell’s physique (mostly), equipped items won’t have awkward positioning.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Scribblenauts Unlimited isn’t that difficult of a game. Most of the puzzles are straightforward, requiring little more than the creation of an appropriate item. Sometimes you’ll have to think outside of the box and get specific, but that shouldn’t even break your stride. In Super Scribblenauts, you had to do each stage three times without repeating a word once. THAT was some tough business. You only have to do things once this time around, so be grateful.

If you want to cheat, you can just apply “invulnerable” to Maxwell, making him immune to all damage except Death himself. I should warn you, though. Certain entities can actually apply adjectives to Maxwell without your knowledge. For example, stealing an item from an NPC will make Maxwell “suspect,” which causes all law enforcement to crack down on you. By crack down I mean kill. You’ll be murdered. You can remove said adjectives by accessing the notebook menu, so no worries.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Concluding tips: Reset the stage if you can’t find a Starite shard. If you still can’t find it, do the other quests in the area. Use the mouse wheel to zoom out while in Starite Vision. Don’t put quest characters to sleep or kill them unless specifically told to.

Chris Schilling of VideoGamer likes Scribblenauts Unlimited on the whole, but finds it lacking in certain areas. Having so many items forces everything into simplistic categories: food, vehicle, enemy, weapon, etc, at which point the only thing that differentiates items within these categories is appearance. It’s definitely aimed at a younger audience, one that would have a lot of fun making a sparkling ninja ride a giant smoky ghost narwhal. I have a lot of fun with that too, so it’s for whoever likes creative freedom, I suppose. Here’s the alternate review for you: http://www.videogamer.com/reviews/scribblenauts_unlimited_review.html

Party of Sin, Clipping Wings and Puzzle Things

I got Party of Sin on a Steam Sale, figuring a neat little puzzle platformer about the Seven Deadly Sins would be worth a couple bucks. Though short, I enjoyed the game thoroughly. The characters were nifty, their abilities were fun to apply, and a good number of the puzzles were actually rather challenging. Stylistically speaking, Party of Sin is cartoony-cutesy with moderately good voice acting and a good aesthetic.

The plot isn’t something you need to focus on, but I’ll fill you in anyway. The Seven Deadly Sins were creating chaos on Earth, until Archangel Gabriel cut a deal with Lucifer to imprison the sins in Hell. Now, furious, the sins want to climb from Hell up to Heaven, kill Gabriel, and regain their rightful place in existence.

Party of Sin

Each Sin has a standard attack, a special ability, and upgrades for both:

  • Wrath. He can punch, and if he builds up enough velocity, he can charge. Punch upgrades allow him to throw scythes, and charge upgrades increase his rate of acceleration.
  • Greed. He’s got a sharp hook. He can grapple to special points, and with upgrades, his attacks turn things to gold temporarily.
  • Envy. She stabs things and shoots a reflective laser. With upgrades, her shiv can poison things, and her laser can pierce enemies.
  • Sloth. She hits things with her teddy bear and slows stuff down. With upgrades, she gets more knockback and can slow multiple foes.
  • Pride. He has a sword and is FAAABULOUS. He can do sword charge-jumps, and gets ranged cleave and increased charge damage upgrades.
  • Lust. She’s a lady for whips. Her perfume charms her enemies in a big poof. Upgrades make her whip charming, and her perfume cloud larger.
  • Gluttony. He’s my favorite. He can claw things and eat people, slowly digesting them and healing. With upgrades, he pukes while clawing, and digests enemies faster.

Party of Sin

There are four areas total: Hell, Purgatory, Earth, and Heaven. Each has around five to eight levels, the last of which always has a boss. Each level contains a number of green apples, which are unique collectibles that allow players to purchase refundable upgrades for the Sins. Postgame, players can buy cheats like increased speed, passive enemies, and infinite health.

Unfortunately, Party of Sin has virtually no replay value. If you’re a fan of setting records and doing speed runs, then you may have a bit of fun getting gold ranks on each and every level, but in my opinion, it’s not worthwhile. Good game, good mechanics, some of the bosses can cheat a bit, and overall a nice buy.

James of IndieGamesHQ gave Party of Sin a very high score, saying that each individual aspect of the game was done well. I can agree with this to a fault, the fault being that Party of Sin is a once-off. As said in the alt review, eight to ten hours and that’s about it. Excellent for a debut ga me, though. Here’s the other review: http://indiegamehq.com/review/party-of-sin-by-crankshaft-games/

Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale is a Good Buy

It isn’t often a come across a money management game that’s actually fun and has an appealing personality. Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale is about a young girl named Recette, whose adventurer father leaves her in an empty home with a colossal debt weighing down on her tiny reserve of cash. Tear, a fairy contracted to a large financial corporation, comes to collect the debt. Since Recette can’t pay immediately, Tear helps her turn her house into an item shop! That way, she can pay her debt back in weekly chunks through monitoring sales, checking prices, buying low, and selling high. There is a fair amount of depth in this cutesy indie game.

That said, it is possibly a little too cutesy and whimsical to stomach. If you don’t have a high tolerance for silly humor and sitcom shenanigans, you might just wind up getting a little bored with the theme. Just a warning, because I myself have trouble playing consistently due to the interminably engaged adorable mode.

Recettear, An Item Shop's Tale

The in-game tutorial is long, patient, and thorough, enough so that getting into detail about how things work would be a bit of a waste of your time. All the same, you need to know the basics, right?

A lot of this game is getting to know your customers and haggling. Sell too high, and they’ll leave your store empty-handed. Sell too low, and your customers will love you, but you won’t turn much of a profit, which means you may not be able to meet your quota. The day is divided into four segments, which you can use to open the store, explore town, or check out the Adventurer’s Guild and hire an adventurer to loot a dungeon for you.

Recettear, An Item Shop's Tale

Adventuring is tough as nails, because there is no health regeneration beyond healing items, and enemies tend to hurt. A single dungeon can be incredibly lucrative, providing you have the gear and the patience to travel through all five floors. I’ve only played with the first available adventurer, but I imagine ranged characters are a litter easier to work with, since melee often means taking a few punches while you’re swinging.

The payments can get pretty steep pretty quickly, which can be a little disheartening if you’re not familiar with how these sort of games work. The good news is, if you miss a payment, you don’t really get a game over. You just restart from Day 2 without any money, but with all your inventory and adventurer stuff intact. You’ll typically fall hard the first few times, it seems, but that gives you all the more opportunity to learn how to play the market right.

Recettear, An Item Shop's Tale

It’s all very plot/event oriented, so expect a lot of goings-on to shake things up. New adventurers coming in, competitors, price shifts, and plenty more. It starts off easy peasy, but is quick to test your monetary mettle. Don’t invest in this game unless you’re prepared for some trial and error, okay? Okay.

Alec Meer of RockPaperShotgun took quite a shine to Recettear, An Item Shop’s Tale as well, but got plenty farther than I did, thus knows quite a bit more about the underlying strategy and mechanics. From what I’ve read, the whole looping aspect plays a pretty major role, and the price deadlines get… well, staggeringly huge. So, my friends, don’t be afraid of failure, and take a peek at this review here before you decide to take it or leave it! Tadaa: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/11/wot-i-think-recettear-an-item-shops-tale/

Fire Emblem: Awakening Will Bring Out the Tactician in YOU

Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS. Holy SHIT this game is good. It’s good enough to make me start this review off with a vague and generic adjective. Now, I’ve only played one other Fire Emblem game, so you veterans out there may already be scoffing at me and wondering what I could possibly tell you that you don’t already know. Well buddy-pal, I can tell you a lot. I’ve dumped 100+ hours into this game so far, and I’m not nearly finished with it.

The major difference between Awakening and the older titles is that the difficulty is much more flexible, allowing newcomers to the series a chance to ease their way in without being brutalized and given a negative impression. Features from other games are pulled in and smoothly incorporated, like the Avatar character, the relationship system, and various items and other mechanics. Since this is a general review, I’ll pretend all of you don’t know a thing about Fire Emblem, and want to find out what all the hype is about.

Difficulty is a major factor in Fire Emblem: Awakening, because enjoyment comes from immersion, challenge, and a sense of progression. Players are given the choice between Casual and Classic modes: In Casual, permanent death is disabled, which takes the edge off of having a unit fall in battle. Instead, they retreat, are removed from the field of battle, but remain available for future missions. Classic is for true-blue Fire Emblem fanatics who want their strategy to mean something. When a unit dies, it’s gone. Forever. Every subtlety in your battle plan matters if you don’t want to lose anyone.

Of course, then there are the standard difficulty choices, ranging from Easy to Lunatic, but you don’t need me to tell you about that.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Gamplay mechanics are something to mention, right? It’s fairly basic turn based strategy. You have a map divided into squares capable of being occupied by units (or not, depending on the terrain type). Your units have different classes, which can make them melee, ranged, or both. When attacking, your character will inflict their damage, and then be counter-attacked if the enemy is properly equipped to do so. For example, bowmen can’t attack melee, swordsmen can’t attack ranged. There are many weapons that defy those rules, but I won’t get into great detail on that. If Chrom, one of the main characters, or your Avatar falls, game over. The victory conditions can be to rout the enemy or defeat the commander, so plan accordingly. That’s all you need to know. Much more fun than it sounds, believe me.

The class system is simplified into two tiers: Basic classes, and Advanced classes. Basics receive higher experience but have lower stat caps. Advanced classes are the opposite. Basic classes receive abilities at level 1 and 10, while Advanced classes get them at 5 and 15. Use Second Seals to change classes while above level ten, and use Master Seals to upgrade to an Advanced Class. Each basic has two upgrades. Got it? Good.

Characterization plays a tremendous role in Fire Emblem: Awakening, due in part to the major focus on the relationship system. Marrying your characters is very important, for a reason that I can’t get into but is directly relevant to the greater plot. I’ll just say that you can either hook people up based on combat ability or personality compatibility… Depends on which way you swing.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Speaking of swing, all romantic relationships are heterosexual. It’s slightly irksome, but the necessity of blood-offspring justifies the lack of fabulous. Mostly. You’ll still have an aww moment when your Avatar achieves S rank support with the character of your choice.

Away from the relationship system, the characters are portrayed in ways that force you to involve yourself emotionally. When you fight a villain, you’ll want to strike them down because they’re complete jerks, man. You’ll feel happy when you lay the beat down on one of the several major evil figures. No lie. Plot done right.

Two more things, then I’ll wrap this up. The first: Risen. Described as an “eldritch horde of monsters,” these zombie looking freaks pop up all over the world map as a quasi-reliable source of Bullion and items. Bullion is a bulk item used for selling only, by the by. Eventually, you’ll be able to purchase Reeking Boxes for 500 gold (4,800 on Lunatic difficulty) and apply them to any location on your map so you can get some quick cash and loot. Since the cheapest Bullion sells for 1,000 and each Risen horde will drop one at the very least, Risen are a great way to grind mid- or post-game. Difficulty depends on location, so keep that in mind when using those Reeking Boxes.

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Secondly, wireless content. If you have wifi, use it in Fire Emblem: Awakening as quickly as possible. You’ll gain access to loads of legendary items and characters from past games for free. This ain’t no paid DLC, this is gratis encouragement to activate the online features. Plus you gain access to the Renown Rewards, which gives you goodies for winning skirmishes. You can even put together a Spot-Pass team that you can send out to murder other players. It’s not PvP, though. Your team will be controlled by A.I. But still, nifty.

There’s still plenty left to cover regarding Fire Emblem: Awakening, but it’ll have to wait. You’ll see a second article up soon.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is for Real American Winners

Whoa dude, totally radical! It’s like I’m living in the past, man. I mean, like, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon should’ve totally been a standalone instead of an expansion, but like, you know, right? It’s chock full of positive messages, and it’s got totally gnarly graphics with neon stuff and lots of righteous weapons. Upgrade ‘em, kick some ass, make some cash, be a total tough customer! And that concludes my essay on why the 80s were the absolute worst ever.

But I kid. As a standalone, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon doesn’t have a lot of content. It’s got a far bit of collection, a few campaign missions, and a reasonable cluster of weapons and upgrades for you to spend your cash on. All things considered, it should be a terrible game. HOWEVER, the true quality in the game comes from the tongue-in-cheek 80s theme and the condescending tooltips/tutorial.

See, that’s something worth touching on. A lot of games have unnecessary tutorials. We live in an age where gaming is pretty damn mainstream. It’s tough to find someone who hasn’t said, “Yeah, I know,” while taking part in a mandatory tutorial or having their screen cluttered by obvious advice. Blood Dragon actually goes out of its way to satirize the tutorial, making it condescending, lengthy, and annoying. Even your character gets pissed off at it.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

The plot is as follows: Sergeant Rex Power Colt is on a mission to stop Colonel Sloan from blowing up the world with blood dragon blood missiles and changing it into a whacked out sci-fi Jurassic Park. Dr. Darling, the love interest, helps out Rex on the way with science! She even offers to give him modified dragon blood, but what does Rex say? He says no! A real American hero knows that winners don’t use drugs! You’ll hear crap like that a lot, and probably get a good laugh out of it.

It’s basically a flashy “what the future would be like” reskin of Far Cry 3, with more references than you can shake a stick at. You get RoboCop’s pistol, Terminator’s shotgun, a neon bow with flashy arrows, a laser gatling gun, a sniper rifle, and a flamethrower. Good kit, eh? You even get a nasty little superweapon at the end of the campaign.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

$15 is all you gotta pay for this little neon turd. That’s not really asking a lot, considering you don’t need to own Far Cry 3 in order to play. There is a catch, though. If you buy Blood Dragon on Steam, you have to access it through Uplay. I won’t lie, Uplay is a shitty medium. It’s invasive and useless and I just don’t care very much for it. It won’t touch any of your other games, but it’s still there enough to warrant my full, irritated attention.

Joey Davidson of TechnoBuffalo likes it! He really likes it. Cheap 80s thrills are tip top, and while Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon isn’t the highest quality of games, it is unique enough to offer some legitimate entertainment. Laser pew pew! http://www.technobuffalo.com/reviews/far-cry-3-blood-dragon-review/