Game On: Hearthstone (Part 59)


hearthstone-logo

Chris goes solo this week with the rising phenomenon that is Hearthstone! Spoiler alert: He’s not the best player in the world, so you’re not about to watch some high-end play here. Instead, be amazed as we battle our way through the lowest tiers in the game!

Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email.

Game On: Hearthstone (Part 58)


hearthstone-logo

Chris goes solo this week with the rising phenomenon that is Hearthstone! Spoiler alert: He’s not the best player in the world, so you’re not about to watch some high-end play here. Instead, be amazed as we battle our way through the lowest tiers in the game!

Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email.

My Wishlist for The World Ends With You 2


The World Ends With You is among one of my favorite games to come out for the Nintendo DS. Critically acclaimed at the time of its release, The World Ends With You has an engaging story, interesting characters, catchy music and unique art style that garnered pretty strong fanbases in both Japan and America. It’s also one of the few games that I think genuinely deserves a sequel because of how open its premise is. Sadly, it’s been eight years since the game’s release and we haven’t got one. The closest thing we’ve gotten is a (admittedly cool) secret ending video and the teaser image below. If nothing else, this at least shows that Square is interested in making a sequel eventually, so here are some of the things I would like to see in The World Ends With You 2.

TWEWY sequel teaser pic
PLEASE HAPPEN SOMEDAY

5. New Setting
Based on the teaser image above, it looks like the sequel would potentially be set in Shibuya. While Shibuya’s stylized look in The World Ends With You made it dynamic and interesting to explore, I think that the sequel should take advantage of a new location entirely. Not only would a change of scenery give new life to the sequel by featuring a new, unique and creative place like Tokyo or Akihabara, it would also allow the story to be different as well. Shibuya was already saved in the last game, and it doesn’t need to be in danger again. Finally, by placing The World Ends With You 2 in a different place, it will give the development team a opportunity to overhaul the atrocious map on the top screen from the first game. I have very few complaints with the first game, but I could never read that thing to save my life.

4. Expanded Story
The story in The World Ends With You spans the course of three weeks, featuring new partners and challenges in each one. I enjoyed this set up immensely, and the ability to replay story quests was great. The lore of the game is really fascinating and interesting, but unfortunately, most of this extra information can only be found in the Secret Reports, which are unlocked through various challenges over the three weeks. These challenges can be quite difficult, and so a lot of the extra, fascinating background information that makes the main story all the more compelling can’t be appreciated. To fix this, I think the main story could easily be expanded in the sequel to accommodate the lore of the game’s universe while still feeling natural and fluid. By making the story longer, and give the writers extra opportunities to insert more information about the lore that makes the first game so enjoyable.

3. Improved Touch Screen Controls
The touch screen controls made The World Ends With You’s combat system one of the unique and interesting when it came out for the Nintendo DS. Neku would be controlled on the bottom screen, while his partner is on the top screen. I really liked this setup because it used the DS to its maximum potential. While this made the game one of the most creative of its time, the touch screen controls could get wonky and imprecise, which could lead to some devastating blunders against bosses. Because of this, if the sequel is going improve upon the first one, the touch screen controls need to be more responsive. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to use a regenerating shield around me but instead summoned Rhyme to needlessly fly off the screen and not hit anything. Not okay.

2. More Pins
Neku’s fighting style in the World Ends With You relied on pins, where he could draw power from them and do an assortment of attacks ranging from telekinesis, conjuring flames or slashing. The game had a large variety of pins to choose from, and the player could create various decks of different pins to fit their needs. Ideally, using pins to fight in the sequel would help keep combat fresh and open, and giving players an even wider variety to choose from would be great. There could even be collectible pins based on defeated bosses or allies, much like Rhyme’s pin from the first game. Really, I just need an excuse to scour the cities for pins to collect and horde forever.

TWEWY Pins

1. All New Characters
Most sequels feature the return of the main cast from the first game, and while this works in most games, I think for The World Ends With You 2 to stand on its own, it should take advantage of its premise. What I mean is that the premise doesn’t require the same characters to return: it’s open enough that new characters can be introduced and written well because it’s a strong idea. I love the cast from The World Ends With You a lot, but I think for them to return it would hinder the growth and experiences for the new characters; not to mention their return would more than likely ruin the growth they gained from the first game. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to see some cameos of the previous cast members – that would be great. But unless they can be woven into the story in a way that doesn’t feel cheap, that’s as far as it should go. Anything more than that, and the new characters will be overshadowed. Luckily I think the teaser picture has the right idea and I hope the new characters are just as well-written and endearing as the cast of the first game.

And there you have it! Square Enix doesn’t have the best track record with releasing sequels that aren’t several years apart, but I’m going to remain optimistic that they will one day return to this gem and give it the sequel it deserves. Now to hide in the corner depressingly and listen to The World Ends With You soundtrack while I carve my pleas for the sequel in the wall.

Game On: Hearthstone (Part 57)


hearthstone-logo

Chris goes solo this week with the rising phenomenon that is Hearthstone! Spoiler alert: He’s not the best player in the world, so you’re not about to watch some high-end play here. Instead, be amazed as we battle our way through the lowest tiers in the game!

Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email.

Game On: Hearthstone (Part 56)


hearthstone-logo

Chris goes solo this week with the rising phenomenon that is Hearthstone! Spoiler alert: He’s not the best player in the world, so you’re not about to watch some high-end play here. Instead, be amazed as we battle our way through the lowest tiers in the game!

Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email.

Final Fantasy IX Android Review


If you’ve kept up with my writing, then you’re probably aware of Final Fantasy IX’s status as my favorite game of all time. I’ve played the Playstation classic twice now, but with my game’s third disc on the fritz, my desire for the game to be remade became much more urgent. My wish came true in the form of the Android and Steam port, and as soon as it was released for the Android earlier this year, I embarked on my third, completionist playthrough (Ozma, here I come!).

Since I’ve already discussed the game’s story and characters in the past by counting down my favorite moments in the game, this review is really going to focus on the port itself and the changes it does make, such as the graphics and the touch screen controls. These are the biggest changes the port makes to the original game since it retains much of the previous features while adding some nifty features.

The graphics of the original Final Fantasy IX are by no means bad, but the game is beginning to show its age some. The port gives the characters newer, crisp models, in addition to clearing up the background some as well. The background however, is not in HD as the character models are, so seeing the characters against the blurry, painted looking backdrop can no doubt be jarring for some players. With that said, I appreciate that the backgrounds retain the old and artistic look the original offered, so this doesn’t bother me much. The main cutscenes have also received visual refinements as well, making them even more enjoyable to watch.

FF9GarnetHDcutscene

In terms of the controls, the battle menu and main menu is modified a bit to accommodate the touch screen. Movement is done with a digital joystick that appears on the screen, and button commands are initiated with a pop up. I appreciate the transition to touch screen controls and feel that the game did so successfully, despite the occasional lack of responsiveness or wonkiness.

Not only are the graphics and controls modified to accommodate the touch screen, but there are additional cheats that allow the player to streamline the game significantly, and it adds a new fun twist to playing the game. Hate random encounters and want nothing to do with them? You can turn them off. Want to do a speed run through the game? You can speed up cutscenes to help maximize your time. Want to max out your Gil, levels, and abilities without having to grind? You can do that too. Some people will tell you this is cheating, but since all of these are optional features the player can choose to take or ignore, it’s really not. It gives you the freedom to play the game as you want, and that’s great.

In addition to these “cheats”, the Final Fantasy IX port also features an autosave function that activates every time you enter or leave an area, meaning that you don’t have to worry as much about finding Moogles to save at. It helps give a sense that you can play on the go, and it’s pretty nice to have if you’re in a rush and can’t afford to get a save point right away. The only time I ran into a problem with this feature was when I was underleveled for a boss fight and was forced to load my last save file in order to level accordingly.

FF9Androidtitlescreen

On that note, not only can you turn off the encounters, but the encounter rate in Final Fantasy IX’a Androud port is significantly lower. Dungeons that used to be extremely difficult in the original Playstation game were much easier when I could complete the dungeon without having to fight more than a couple of times. I for one appreciate the lowered encounter rate because it makes the game much easier to play on the go. Instead of getting stuck in encounter after encounter, it allows you to experience the story at a much quicker pace. And if you need to grind for levels? You still can. It’s a matter of choice on how you want to play the game.

Things like this make the game not only more accessible to new RPG fans, but it’s also proof that the developers put time and effort into this port by adding in new features otherwise nonexistent in the original game. By making conscious decisions that will improve the experience for gamers, it makes the game all the more accessible and desirable to play. I’ve had very few issues playing the Final Fantasy IX port, and more than anything, I’m just happy to be able to play this fantastic game yet again on a new, portable device wherever I go.

Score: 4.5 tripping Vivis out of 5

Poor thing. Can't stop faceplanting everywhere he goes.
Poor thing. Can’t stop faceplanting everywhere he goes.

Let’s Play Streets of Rage Remake (5/5)


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Chris takes time on a busy week to run through one of the best fan projects in video game history: Streets of Rage Remake! This is a tenderly crafted title with tons of extras and fun features for beat ’em up fans everywhere.

Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email.

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