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Oninaki done

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Thursday evening I finished off the mainstory of Oninaki. It took me about 20 hours and I’ve seen all three endings. I lost a bit of sleep over it, I didn’t get to bed untill 1 at night, but I was happy that I managed to push through and finish the story that has captured me for the past 2.5 weeks. This also marks the fact that I’ve managed to finally finish a game within a month of release for the first time in I think the last 10 years or so. This also sets the number of games finished this year on four, of which Oninaki and Kingdom Hearts 3 were the longest games for me to play through. The other two were Yoshi’s Crafted World and Kirby Star Allies which were both relatively short games.

Now that I finished the story in Oninaki I’ve opened up the postgame content. This includes the ability to travel back and forth between different parts of the game and also the opening up of a 100 floor post game dungeon with a boss every five floors. This is the ideal place to level up Kagachi, I’m currently sitting on 71, and level up all my other Daemons that I didn’t really use throughout the story. I’m almost done with unlocking all skills on Dia and getting her to max rank. I picked up Izana (who wields a Scythe) instead of Aisha and I will probably swap out Dia with Lucika (fist weapons) once I get max rank on her. I also unlocked the 11th Daemon that wasn’t patched in untill launch day called Jex. Jex is a bit of a special Daemon seeing as instead of having auto attacks and his own skills he gets the skills of all other 10 Daemons. I can see how this is interesting to play around with but for now I’m not really interested in that and will focus on my other Daemons instead.

Right now I’m still very much into the gameplay loop of this game and I don’t see myself getting bored soon yet. I plan to defeat all the 100 floors of the post game dungeon and also track down and complete the sidequests that I’ve missed. Normally I don’t really aim to 100% complete games immediatly but I’m just really enamoured with this game so I may actually make an effort to do so. This means I will have to max out all my Daemons, complete all the side quests, max out Kagachi on levels and defeat the post game dungeon. However I also want to start picking out a new game to play on my Switch or another platform.

I’m very much leaning towards another Switch game. I have a bit of a backlog built up there and it seems like I’m better at completing games on that platform than on any other platform. However I’m also really leaning towards picking a game on the WiiU instead. I am really enjoying RPG’s right now, especially ARPG’s where I can just fight in real time instead of turn based. This already kills a few games like Pokémon and Octopath Traveler on my Switch and also Tokyo Mirage Sessions on my WiiU. I started playing Paper Mario: Color Splash when I was moving house but I don’t really feel like picking that back up again.
I could pick one of the two Xenoblade Chronicles games I own. I have X on the WiiU and never really touched it much and I own 2 on the Switch and got around 10 to 15 hours of playtime in on that. They are both ARPG’s and both pretty good looking so I’m heavily tending towards on of those. However I’m also really pulled towards picking up YS 8 again… It’s a difficult choice to make. I guess I’ll see what I want to pop in and play once I get done or bored with Oninaki… But it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one of the three games I just mentioned.

In other news I’ve been actually spending more time on the World of Warcraft Classic server than I thought I would. I am way behind the leveling curve of everyone else but I’m not too bothered by that. I’ve made a Druid who is now level 17 and I’m actually jumping back and forth a bit between playing that and my original Warlock. The plan for now is that I’m playing the Druid the most and then poke around on the Warlock and use up the rested experience and then jump back to the Druid. I’m only three levels away from unlocking cat form there so I really want to keep pushing through untill I reach atleast level 20.
I’m still not playing very much or very long. I get in about an hour or an hour and a half per session. I set very small goals for myself like completing the quests I have open in my log or getting one level. It’s working for me though and I see slow but steady advancement. I’m also really enjoying fishing and cooking and even though I probably shouldn’t spend my money on it now, I can’t help it whenever I level up enough for new recipes.

All in all I’m quite happy I managed to finish another game and I’m ready to pick a new one once I’m done with all the extra content.

Review: Oninaki (Switch)

Oninaki is a game that I bought on a whim almost two weeks ago. I’ve been playing it a surprising amount since and have landed on the final chapter of the story.. Thus prompting me to write my review about the game. As sidenote, I haven’t actually finished the game yet but I don’t think I’m too far off. So without further ado my review of Oninaki on the Switch.

The Basics

Title: Oninaki
Genre: ARPG/JRPG
Developer: Tokyo RPG Factory
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 22-08-2019
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC, Switch

The developer Tokyo RPG factory isn’t a stranger on the scene anymore. As daughter company of Square Enix they are focused on renewing the old JRPG genre. Before Oninaki they’ve published “I am Setsuna” which I own and “Lost Sphear”. This is their third title and the first true Action RPG they have developed. I picked up this game for €44,99 on release, normally I’d rather wait untill titles like these go on sale but I was so intrigued with it that I decided to just dip in and get it straight away.

The Story
The overarching plot is centered around Life, Death and Reincarnation. You play as Kagachi, a young Watcher who is tasked with protecting the realm and the Reincarnation cycle. Kagachi can travel from the normal realm to Beyond the Veil which is akin to limbo. When people die and have no regrets they are thought to be reincarnated. However when people have regrets they become Lost and can’t reincarnate and become stuck Beyond the Veil instead as Lost Souls. Lost Souls who are stuck long enough eventually turn into Fallen, spirits consumed by negative emotion. As Kagachi you are tasked to help Lost Souls move on and battle the Fallen who also manifestate in the real world. There’s cults, murderers, charm peddlers and all sorts of other folks causing trouble. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story here but so far I’m hooked and can’t wait untill I finish the ride. The only downside I would mention is that at some points the story seems to move a bit too fast for it to be believable. I think the game would have benefited from a bit more deepening of the plot or a bit slower storytelling at the start. However this isn’t disruptive enough for me to stop playing it or not enjoy what I’m actually playing through.
Next to the mainstory there’s also a lot of smaller sidestories to do although they don’t really add to the overarching story a lot. They are fun to do though as a bit of a distraction from the main story when things get more intense.

 

The Gameplay
The game defines itself as an ARPG and if I have to compare it to something I guess I would compare it to a hack & slash when it comes to overworld fighting but with an actual story to the game. You fight groups of mobs and bosses in real time. Your weapons are Daemons, powerful Lost Souls that are bound to Kagachi. Each Daemon has a weapon of preference and can learn four skills which you can use in combat. Daemons have skill trees that are fueled by special stones. Luckily you don’t have to do anything special for these stones except kill enemies. Kagachi levels up and so do the Daemons as you allocate more skills to their skill trees. Next to that, as I mentioned, all Daemons have a weapon of choice. This weapon is upgradeable and can have sockets for stones that enhance battle properties. There is an Alchemist where you can upgrade your weapons, craft new ones and socket stones. There is a satisfying loop where you go to a map, basically clear it of Fallen both in the real world and Beyond the Veil and then fight a big boss at the end. As you fight with your Daemon a gauge fills. When you hit 100% you can have your Daemon “manifest” and have all your combat stats boosted. This is really nice to clear big groups of mobs or bosses. All Daemons have their own specialty so some are better at damaging multiple targets, others are better at single target. You can have four Daemons “equipped” at a time and switch between them freely when you don’t have one Manifested. I notice that when I’m playing longer sessions my fingers kind of get tired from mashing the buttons at some point but the gameplay itself is very addicting and the upgrading and rotating Daemons is actually really fun to do. As added perk you can unlock memories from your Daemons as you level them up which adds more story to the game. Right now I’m running with Aisha (see picture) who wields a Sword, Dia who is a dual Gun/Bow wielder, Treize who wields Chains and Rigan who wields a Dual Knife. Dia and Treize specialize in AoE whereas Aisha and Rigan are better suited for single target combat. Although I have currently maximized Aisha’s rank so she’s strong no matter what.

Sound, graphic and other technicals
Here is where I think platform begins to matter when it comes to choosing this game. I bought it on the Switch and have chosen the mobility of the console, I’ve been playing on my TV and handheld, over the performance on PC and Playstation 4. As such I have to say that the graphics aren’t as beautiful as they probably could be on a different platform. The game suffers from FPS drops here and there, although never so bad that it becomes unplayable. The transition from gameplay to cutscenes isn’t always optimal and the cutscenes are sometimes slightly pixelated for a second before snapping back into focus. A bit of a shame because I think it could have been optimized better for the Switch. As far as sounds and music goes I have no complaints. The battle music isn’t annoying and every map has it’s own unique background music. The sound effects are fine. If I have to name a downside it’s that the game comes with only Japanese audio. I’m not too bothered by this but whenever something is said during battle it means I can’t understand it. All the cutscenes are subtitled but some of the “banter” or battle shouts have no meaning for me because I don’t speak the language. I probably would have played in Japanese regardless if there was an English option but having the choice would have been nice.

The final big downside is that the loading screens in this game are absurdly long. Sometimes I’m waiting for two minutes before I finally load back into the game after a cutscene. When starting up it takes a long time to get to the title screen to begin with and then there’s a long loading screen from title screen to actual game. As such I’ve been just putting my Switch on rest mode with the game still running purely so I can skip having to start it up. Which is something you shouldn’t have to do.

Final Verdict
Although the game has its flaws when it comes to story pacing and technical “issues” I’ve been hooked since picking it up. The gameplay loop is nice. I like the Daemon system and the fact that I can switch up my combinations a lot. The story has completely sucked me in and now that I’ve arrived at the final part I’m determined to see the ending by the end of the week. I’ve heard that there is postgame content and that the game contains multiple endings so I definitely want to see them all.

If you can look past the flaws and enjoy a hack & slash type of game with Japanese graphics this may be the game for you. It’s not absurdly long and has a nice gameplay loop. Is it worth buying full price? Only if you’re really a fan and think the game is interesting enough. On sale I definitely recommend picking this up and losing a few weeks of your gaming time on it.

Gaming Goals: September 2019

Man, I can’t believe it’s September already. August has flown by in my perspective and with that the summer has come to an end. Everyone at work is slowly returning from their vacation. Sunscreen is being heavily discounted and all the kids are back in school. For me August has been a bit of a mixed bag when it came to gaming, as I’ve said in my post yesterday. Nonetheless it’s time to let go of the past and look ahead to what September has to offer. But first a quick look at what I’ve actually achieved in August goals wise!

MMO Goals

  • Cap weekly on the new tomestones in FFXIV and get healing gear upgrades
  • Level my Black Mage to 80. Level my Red Mage to 80
  • Level my Alchemist to 70. Level my Culinarian to 50. Level my Botanist and Miner to 80
  • Poke away at the ARR Relic chain for the White Mage weapon. I really want more transmog options… I’m currently at the Atma step.
  • Play through Nazjatar and Mechagon content in WoW and unlock flying
  • Play some GW2

As far as my MMO goals go I actually think I did pretty well. I managed to get all my Final Fantasy XIV leveling goals done. I also managed to get from the Atma to the Animus step on my White Mage relic so there’s that, I’m on my second book. I unlocked flying in World of Warcraft and I managed to keep up with capping tomestones untill this weeks’ reset. The only thing I didn’t do is spend some time in Guild Wars 2.

Non-MMO Goals

  • Play through and write about FFVIII, not necessarily finish it though
  • Play through and write about Spider-man on the PS4

Unfortunately I didn’t get any of these done. Partly because I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and play, partly because of the weather that left my apartment to be quite warm and thus I didn’t want to subject my PS4 or my PC to long gaming times in that heat.

With that out of the way, let’s look forward to September

MMO Goals

  • Level my Monk to level 80 in FFXIV. Start leveling my Samurai afterwards?
  • Complete the level 80 job quests for Botanist and Miner
  • Level Culinarian to level 70 + job quests
  • Start taking either Leatherworker, Armorer or Blacksmith through Ixal dailies towards level 50
  • Work on White Mage relic
  • Work towards getting Exalted with the Nazjatar reps on WoW retail
  • Play some GW2
  • Play some WoW Classic

Non-MMO Goals

  • Play through/finish Oninaki
  • Pick another game to play on Switch

At first glance it looks like I’m setting a lot of goals for myself but in reality this is actually a quite relaxed month for me. I’m not forcing myself to cap tomes on FFXIV anymore. I’m only setting a goal for one battle class this month and the rest of my time will be focused on crafting, which is mostly completing beast tribe dailies. Also working on the White Mage relic is pretty casual. The books are much easier to do now with the exception of the FATE requirements.
In WoW I just want to get those two reps to exalted, which should be easily doable now that I’ve unlocked flying. In addition to getting those two reps up it will also mean I will get the “80 reputations Exalted” achievement as secondary motivation.
I’m still keeping some space to play Guild Wars 2 and/or WoW Classic although I’m reserving both of those games for the weekend.

On the non MMO front I’ve already been playing a lot of Oninaki (see above screenshot) and I’m planning to finish it in September. For some reason my Switch seems to be the preferred console right now so I want to take advantage of the fact that I’m playing on it a lot. After I finish Oninaki I want to pick a game from my backlog back up that I started but never finished. I’m quite enjoying the action RPG genre at the moment so I expect to either jump back into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 after I finish up Oninaki or Ys 8, both great ARPG games with the Japanese visual style that I so enjoy.

All in all I’m keeping things light for myself so that I can easily skip a few days of gaming and still achieve all the goals that I’ve set. How will your September look like gaming wise?

Gaming Goals June 2019

Seeing as how April and May have been really weird months for me I refrained to do anything gaming goal related for those months. But June is rolling around and with it I will have access to my PC again so I feel like I can start writing up some goals again for me to attain.
I have pre-ordered Shadowbringers and it comes out at the end of the month so once that date hits my focus will probably be completely on FFXIV and getting through the first few weeks of the expansion. However we are still four weeks off when that happens so in the meantime there’s a bunch of stuff I hope to achieve!

FFXIV

  • Level Goldsmith to level 70 and Alchemist to 50 (atleast)
  • Finish off leftover quests

WoW

  • Get up to speed with latest content
  • Play Classic beta?

Other games

  • Make significant progress in Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Beat Kirby Star Allies on the Switch
  • Make significant progress in Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee on the Switch
  • Make significant progress in Paper Mario: Color Splash on the WiiU
  • Pick a game to play on 3DS

Hopefully I can get really far with leveling my crafters in FFXIV. I will try to keep up with the job quests as I level up but I’m not too bothered if I let it slide. I can always finish those up later. If all goes well I’ll only need to level 4 more crafting jobs past the Ixali dailies by the end of the month, hopefully to never return to them again. I’m quite looking forward to getting my character to be an “omnicrafter” and I’m planning to definitely push up my gathering and crafting jobs to level 80 early on in the Shadowbringers expansion.

With my PC back in the fold I’m definitely going to resub to WoW and play my Paladin or Mage and continue leveling my (Void Elf) Hunter for the Heritage gear. Next to that I hope I may get a Classic beta invite so I can get a chance to sniff the flowers when it comes to that. I’m not actively seeking to play Classic but I might stick my nose in and see if I enjoy it. I’m not 100% sure what class I’ll be rolling. I’m having major doubts between Nelf Druid and Human Warlock. I’m not interested on playing Horde side for now.

I’ve set some really ambitious goals when it comes to non MMO games. There’s just so many games that I’ve started over the years and never finished that I feel like it’s time to carve out blocks of my week to work on that. My main focuses are the games that I’ve been playing in more recent times and complete those, after that I can start reaching further into my backlog and pick up other games to play. I’ve left Monster Hunter World off this list for now, even though I am playing it in bits and pieces. The game hasn’t really hooked me fulltime yet but I do enjoy it for what it is.

All in all I feel these goals are definitely obtainable throughout the month. With a 3 day weekend coming up aswell as having a bit more structure in my evenings it frees up game time, that I definitely eagerly will grab.

A weekend of wrapping up

The past week and weekend I’ve been solely focused on finishing off a lot of things. I’ve been making a ton of progress in FFXIV, I’ve been playing my Switch again and I’ve been reading on my e-reader more than I have before.

My first “big” achievement is that I’ve finished off the main objective in Yoshi’s Crafted World. I gathered all the gems and defeated Bowser Jr. who made a pretty interesting end boss. It took me a bit over 10 hours to get this done with me pushing through the levels and ignoring all the bonus stuff for the final part. I really enjoyed some of the levels and world and overall there were only one or two levels that I didn’t really enjoy. With having seen the credits roll I’ve opened up a few new things aswell. First off there’s the bonus levels which turn out to be really hard on normal mode. After dying a ton of times on the first level I decided to throw in the towel and go down to easy mode just to get through the level. I’m quite happy with the fact that I just pushed through and finished off the main thing though since I usually don’t even do that. I’m planning to play through the bonus levels atleast so I can get to the secret end boss. I also want to leisurely go back to levels that I’ve completed and do flip sides, get all the red coins and any flowers that I’ve missed. Again I’m probably going to do this on easy mode so it’s easier to find all the collectibles and to keep it a relaxing experience.

In FFXIV I’ve finally finished off the level 70 Weaver quest, something that has been in my quest log for a very long time. I’m also done with the 65 Carpenter quest, my Carpenter is at 67 as we speak, and the 40 Goldsmith quest, who is level 41 as we speak. All in all it’s nice progress on multiple crafters and I’m still planning to push them up untill the expansion comes out. I don’t think I can get all my crafters up to level 70 before Shadowbringers, I simply have too many in the level 30 range, but I want to make an honest effort to get as many up as I can. I’m hoping to get my Carpenter to 70 by the end of the week and then my Goldsmith should be close to 50 aswell. Which means I can move that one up to Moogle quests and use my Ixal quests on Alchemist, which I want to level up next. It’s a long journey, with tons of irritating Ixali dailies but eventually I’ll get there.

Next to gaming I’ve also finally finished reading the Liveship Traders trilogy. It was interesting although I found the story to hit a slow stretch somewhere in the second book and I had to struggle to keep reading. All in all I’m happy I’ve finished it and I can move on to the next trilogy in the series: The Tawny Man trilogy. Robin Hobb has created a wonderful world and I’m really excited to see where the stories in that world go.

So all in all I’m quite happy with myself. I’ve finally finished another game. I’m making steps in FFXIV, I’m reading again… Now I just want to pick up some of my other hobbies again and start figuring out a workout schedule. It’s baby steps but just being able to finish a game again in an enjoyable manner has been a huge step for me and has motivated me to do more. With my dining table coming in next week I will also finally have access to my computer again and I hope I can start blogging in a more regular manner again aswell. For now though this week will be focused mostly on work, cleaning, people coming over and a bit of gaming on the side.

Physical keyboard again!

For the first time in a couple of weeks I finally have a physical keyboard to work with again so I figured I might aswell pump out a blog post. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures for this one so you’ll just have to do with words.

I’ve had a two week hiatus off work where I settled into my new home and tried to find a new rhythm for life in general. It included a bunch of gaming, watching TV shows and movies and reading books. It also included a lot of anxiety about leaving home, lots of cleaning of the new place and getting adjusted to life on my own. All in all I think I’ve done a decent job so far. The only things I need to work on now are making sure that I eat properly during the evenings and start up my workout schedule again. I have taken the first few babysteps to achieve this by going out for a walk after dinner every night. For now the walks are only about 30 minutes long but I hope to go up to an hour. It’s a great way to digest my food and clear my head, especially now that I’m back at work with all the chaos and stress that accompanies that. I don’t take my phone with me on these walks, just my iPod with some music and my house keys and that’s it. I really hope to expand on this by going to the gym during the weekends but I’m not there yet.

As far as games go. I’ve been spending a lot of my time playing FFXIV. My Carpenter is currently sitting on level 63, my White Mage has gotten a nice weapon and is sitting around ilvl 375. I have collected all the items from the crossover event with FFXV and I’ve picked up finishing off all the ARR relics again. Right now I’m in the middle of the questline on my Warrior and once I finish that I only need Scholar to be done. For now I’m focusing mainly on completing these quests and leveling my crafters. I’m sure my Carpenter will be level 70 before the month is over and I have already started doing Ixal dailies for my Goldsmith which I want to bring to 70 next. For the rest I’m just waiting out my time untill the new expansion launches. I’m planning to level my White Mage first through the story but I’m also really interested in picking up Dancer.
As far as other games go… I’ve made some decent progress in Yoshi’s Crafted World. I have collected 3 out of 5 gems and make sure to get as much collectibles as possible during my first playthrough of a level. Of course I will need to go back to the flipsides to find all the Poochy Pups and collect all the flowers and other things but for now I’m focusing on getting through the worlds and claiming all the gems. I have to say that the level based on a Haunted Mansion is my favourite so far, I’m hoping there is one that can top it.

Against all the deals I made with myself I picked up a new game aswell: Monster Hunter World. I’m really interested in the franchise and I need something to do besides the classic MMO. After messaging Belghast on Twitter whether it would be a good time/deal to pick up the game now I just went ahead and purchased it. I don’t understand most of the systems yet but for now it’s nice to be able to drop into quests that complete fairly fast and see immediate progress as result. I’m sure that things will pick up in difficulty soon but for now I’m enjoying myself and taking a really relaxed approach to the game.

I do notice that I miss my computer in more ways than one. I miss playing WoW and I may want to take another stab at GW2 but unfortunately I won’t have access for another 3 weeks or so. In that time my main gaming will come from my consoles which isn’t too bad considering I can play on a comfy couch while watching a nice big screen now.

In non gaming related news I’ve finally gotten round to watching some films and series. I watched Avengers: Endgame in the theatre two weeks ago, great movie by the way, and I watched The Social Network last weekend. Next to that I’m watching Lucifer on Netflix and of course Game of Thrones. Only one more episode to go and honestly I’m really disappointed with this final season. Everything is super rushed and it feels really underwhelming. I don’t agree with all the story line endings and I really hope that if the books ever get finished they’ll be better than this hot mess.

All in all it’s been a very busy couple of weeks and being back at work where it’s just a gigantic chaos isn’t really making anything much better.

Yoshi’s Crafted World: First impressions

There’s a handful franchises of Nintendo that I really enjoy. Mario is the prime one followed closely by Kirby. However since Yoshi’s Woolly World I have to add the Yoshi franchise to the list aswell. In light of this information it should come as no surprise that I picked up Yoshi’s Crafted World aswell when it came out this week. Unfortunately the Switch screenshots aren’t always that good so my apologies for the one heading this post, I just wanted to give an impression of how the game looked.Anyway I’ve played for a few hours now and wanted to give my first impressions of this game and the things I have discovered so far. I am giving a fair warning now, I am going into some detailed things that I’ve found over the first 2-3 hours of playtime so if you want to stay spoilerfree turn away now!

“Story”
The story like in the previous Yoshi entries is a simple one. The Yoshi’s live happily on their island with the Sundream Stone who makes all their dreams come true. Ofcourse Kamek and Baby Bowser caught wind of this and try to steal the sun stone, breaking it in the process and scattering all the Dreamstones across multiple worlds. You are tasked to find the stones and make the Sundream Stone whole again. Throughout the game you are being thwarted by Kamek and Baby Bowser but you also meet new friends and come across some familiar ones!
All in all it’s  a simple setup, nothing too fancy. It’s a very kid friendly story but that’s something I’ve come to expect from the Yoshi franchise thus far.

Gameplay and levels
The gameplay for this game is the standard Yoshi gameplay. You swallow enemies with B and create eggs with most of them which you can then aim and throw at almost anything in the world. Yoshi’s still flutter when you press A for jumping a bit longer and Yoshi has a ground pound. There’s nothing too fancy about the gameplay, I guess to keep it simple for the kids aswell.
Right at the start of the game you are asked if you want to play the game on “Easy” or “Classic” mode. From what I’ve seen Easy mode doubles the amount of eggs you create when swallowing an enemy and it will let you know when a flower, one of the many collectibles in the game, is nearby. I’ve opted to play on Classic mode myself since the game is simple enough as is so I don’t need it to be even easier. You are free to chose the colour of your Yoshi, there’s 8 total, and you can switch colour any time. As seen on the above screenshot I’m currently playing with the purple variant but I’m thinking about switching to Orange or Lightblue next time I start up the game.

Collectability is a big thing in this game. The levels themselves aren’t hard and you can probably rush through them in two or three minutes but that’s not where this game shines. It shines in the collectibles and replayability of the levels themselves.
On your initial playthrough of a level there’s a few things to collect:

  • Flowers. Flowers are hidden throughout all the levels and it’s up to you to find them and obtain them. Some levels only contain five flowers but I’ve already had a level with ten aswell. Flowers are also the main currency needed to open up new sub zones within worlds, so if you lack them you need to go back to your previous levels and collect more of them if possible.
  • Hearts. Yoshi starts off with about half a heart bar. If you play the level right you end up with a full hearts bar which in turn awards you with a flower.
  • Red coins. Red coins, like flowers, are hidden throughout the level. There’s 20 to obtain each level and some of them can be really well hidden. If you obtain all 20 in a level it awards you with a flower.
  • Gold coins. Gold coins are scattered throughout the level and easy to obtain. When you meet a certain amount required per level you will be awarded with a flower. Next to collecting them for flowers Gold coins are the currency needed to obtain costumes.

Yoshi train costume

So far the collectibles have been quite standard. They’re all known from previous Yoshi franchises and shouldn’t surprise you in any way. However in Yoshi’s Crafted World there are myriads of ways to obtain collectibles and they’ve added a few more things to collect outside of the items I’ve already mentioned.

  • Costumes. Costumes are essentially “armour” that Yoshi can wear as you play through the levels with him. There’s three tiers of costumes, with the golden type being the most rare and awarding the most extra armour. Costumes are obtained from a gumball type machine at the end of each world that you need to feed Gold coins. It’s 100 Gold coins per costume and there’s ten costumes to get per sub zone. Luckily for us you’re not dependant on RNG, you can only get each costume once. You can switch between costumes freely and they are registered in your Scrapbook tab in the menu.
  • Crafts. Crafts are another collectible you can find in the levels, once you have initially played through them. You get assignments to find certain crafts within the levels and if you find (all of) them you get a flower for each turn in. They also register in your Scrapbook.
  • Poochy Pups/Flipside. Once you get a few levels into the game you run into an old friend. With this help an extra layer is added onto the levels: the Flipside. Basically it’s playing the original level in reverse. In the Flipside you are tasked to find Poochy pups and if you do that within a certain time limit you get extra rewards. Again the rewards here are flowers. Once you open up the Flipside of the levels you also get more tasks to find Crafts. The normal levels are then called “Front side”. As sidenote, it’s not possible to collect coins or flowers in the flipside of a level, only Poochy pups and Crafts.

Taking all of the above into consideration it makes the replayability of the levels high. Essentially you are sent back to a level multiple times to gather all the collectibles there are to gather. It’s not necessarily needed to complete the game but it adds an extra layer to the simplistic gameplay that is the Yoshi franchise. It also has you actually look at the levels in more detail than you normally would. Lots of things are hidden in the back (or fore) ground and especially Crafts are sometimes hard to spot. It helps you appreciate the amount of detail the developers have put into the game and it also “trains” your brain in a way because you are constantly looking for things.

Graphics and music
As I mentioned before the screenshots don’t really do it justice but the game is gorgeous and top notch as we’ve gotten used to from Nintendo. The colours are vibrant, the structures are pronounced. I can see how the Yoshi’s, who are made of felt, are in stark contrast to the cardboard world. There’s a lot of detail that has gone into each level so it’s a joy to watch and discover everything as you play through. Even the use of focus/blurring is done very well and makes for a natural flow as you move from the front to the back of a level and vice versa.
The music is cheery and simple like in most games. I like playing with the sounds and music on, it doesn’t grate on the ears so far. I’ve only played through four levels though so the music variety hasn’t been super big but so far I’m enjoying it. The sound effects do add this extra touch to the game that I think would be very bland otherwise. Hitting cardboard structures makes cardboard sounds, Yoshi itself sounds very cute and so far the enemy sounds have made sense aswell. It so far has not made me want to turn my sound off so that’s a big win.

Overall first impression
So far I’m quite happy with my purchase. Although the game is on the easy side there’s enough challenge in it to make the purchase worth while as fan of the franchise. The game is beautiful and vibrant and lifts your spirits as you play through it. The replayability of the levels is high due to the massive amount of collectibles that are present in the game. It’s the perfect game to relax to for an hour or two after work ór when you’re feeling a bit glum and need cheering up.
Is it innovative? Yes in some ways and no in others. Did Nintendo lift the franchise to a new level? Maybe, I think it’s on the same level as Yoshi’s Woolly World when it comes to visuals and gameplay even though they’ve put in some interesting gimmicks in this one and added even more reasons to replay levels.

Would I recommend this game? If you want a relaxing experience and if you think hunting for collectibles is more fun than challenging levels this is the game for you. I fear however that the game is “too easy” for the more veteran gamers who will be done with most of it in a very small timeframe. This is a game you don’t want to rush but that you want to enjoy and take your time on. For a Yoshi game it’s an excellent entry in the franchise and a day one/week one pick up for fans. If you’re on the fence about this game however I’d advise you to wait untill it eventually will be discounted and pick it up then.

June 2018 Goals

Druid class hall flight form

I’ve had a rather active month in May. I started working fulltime in my new position. I’ve jumped back on the FF wagon since the new patch dropped. I’ve been chasing Mage Tower challenges (and am currently sitting on 10/36 done) and my most recent unlock in World of Warcraft has been the new flight form for my Night Elf Druid. You get this instead of a Class Hall mount and I have to say it looks really good!

Looking ahead at June I find my game time to be rather limited. I work 40 hour weeks now so I only have time to game after dinner really, cutting my evenings short to about four hours. I also want to make it a bi-daily habit to go onto our crosstrainer (respectively weekends, Tuesdays and Thursdays) effectively cutting short my gaming time even further since following a workout I would obviously need a shower. There’s a few single player games I’ve picked up that I want to finish, I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy from the start and I’m reading my way through the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. All in all I’ve started a lot of projects over the past month and I want to use June to complete some of them, be it game related or not.

Gaming Goals June 2018

World of Warcraft

  • Get Rogue to level 110 and finish the first leg of the Class Hall Campaign
  • Do Mage Tower challenges on as many class/specs as I can. The ones I really want: Guardian/Feral Druid, Elemental Shaman, Holy Priest.
  • Unlock more Class Hall mounts.

WoW looks to be basically continuing what I’m already doing. I’m still focusing on completing as many Mage Tower stuff as possible but seeing how Legion is only about 2 months away things are starting to look a bit dire. I’m hoping Blizzard decides to permanently enable the Mage Tower at some point but I doubt it. So I’m trying to double down on gearing up my alts and getting stuff done. Luckily getting to about 920 ilvl isn’t that hard anymore and most challenges are doable at that gearlevel even without optmized gear. I also want to finish up leveling the last class I need to 110 and inbetween unlock a few more Class Hall mounts.

Final Fantasy XIV

  • Get my Machinist to 70 and start leveling something else
  • Get my Weaver to 70 and start leveling another crafter
  • Play on my Au’Ra and progress through Heavensward story

I’m trying to keep my FFXIV goals light. Right now I’m just doing dailies and ex roulette for cap and that’s it. My Machinist is sitting on level 68 now though and I think I should be hitting 70 sometime next week if I continue on doing what I’m doing. The same goes for my Weaver. She’s dinged 64 today thanks to the Namazu quests and I’m hoping to push her to 70 this month. Then I will need to start working on another crafter, I’m probably going to go with Carpenter since that one is level 37 and I want to get it to Heavensward so I can take advantage of the Moogle quests.
You also may have seen me mention my Au’Ra on Twitter. My Moogle FC unfortunately has disbanded and moved, in large part, to Cerberus. Not wanting to transfer my Miqo I instead opted to bring over my Au’Ra. She’s still in the start of the Heavensward Story so my goal for now is to slowly push through that as Monk.

Other games

  • Progress in Mario+Rabbids
  • Progress in Monster Hunter Stories

Seeing as most of my attention is going into my MMO’s I don’t have that much time for other games. However Mario+Rabbids seems to have me hooked for now and I’ve already made it to world 2-6 in the mainstory. This is also what I want to focus on moving forward this month. I hope to be able to make it through atleast the rest of World 2 and hopefully a good chunk of World 3 aswell. I’m really enjoying the game and can’t wait how it turns out.
Monster Hunter Stories is one of those games that you really need to bite into for a longer time to understand the concept and to just get through the story. I’ve made my N3DS my Monster Hunter machine for now (save games are stored on the console rather than the card) and I’m planning to play this on the train and during any form of transportation/inbetween time. It’s a nice bright game and I do want to see how it plays out.

Real life and non game related goals

  • Finish the second book of the Farseer Trilogy
  • Clean out and rearrange some cabinets
  • Use the crosstrainer more

I’ve alluded to these goals at the start of my post but I want to start working on my health a bit more, so I want to use the crosstrainer we have on the attic on a more regular basis. Weekend mornings seem to be ideal for this and I want to take atleast two nights a week on the thing aswell. I may expand my routine later on with some strength exercises but for now some extra cardio to build stamina and start losing weight is the way to go.
Another thing I want to be doing over the course of the year is continue cleaning out our attic and more importantly start picking out things of mine that can go. I’ve been told that my apartment will be done sooner than expected (June 2019 instead of September 2019) and it’s time I start making lists of things I still need and things I already have and things that I want to get rid of. I don’t want to end up like my dad with a house full of stuff so I need to think long and hard about what I want to take with me and what not. As bonus perk this helps my dad aswell with getting rid of things from the attic, thus creating more new space.

Finally I’ve kind of found my reading vibe again and I want to continue that. I’m over halfway done in the second book of the Farseer Trilogy and I want to atleast finish it and hopefully start on the third. I’ve unexpectedly fell in love with the series and I know there’s more trilogies ahead for me to buy, which has me quite excited. However I have a bunch of other books that I still need/want to read first so I’m probably going to hold off on more books in the saga untill I’ve read all the other ones I still have.

All in all I’ve tried to keep my goals realistic. With me class hopping on WoW (and focusing on one class at a time) I can do most of the daily stuff there in less than an hour. The same goes for my Final Fantasy XIV dailies. That leaves me with 1-2 hours a night to spend on whatever else I want. I can read, I can play more of WoW/FF if I feel like it. I can choose not to game at all and just relax with my tablet and a show. I just hope that when July starts I’ve made a lot of progress in all the things I want because then I’ll have even less time to game due to vacation and more business at work. For now though it’s time I logged off and started cleaning my room. The dust seems to be everywhere!

March Gaming Goals 2018

Wow, I’ve kind of straight up abandoned my blog somewhere at the start of February. I have no idea what exactly happened. Maybe it was writer’s block, maybe it was just a lack of willingness to sit down and type. Whatever the reason I’ve not looked at my blog at all the past few weeks and I do feel slightly guilty about it.
I want to take this chance though to look back at my gaming month and look ahead to the best month in the year, March!

Monk Class Mount & Pet

February has been a mixed bag for me with a lot of MMO time and not that much time for anything else. I did make some progress here and there though and I guess I’d want to share this with you guys!

  • In World of Warcraft I’ve gone above and beyond the goals that I had set for myself. Not only did I level my Shaman to 110, I’ve also leveled my Horde Priest and Horde Monk to 110 and finished both of their Class Hall campaigns respectively. On my Monk I’ve gone even further and also made the push towards the Class mount because I really REALLY wanted that tiger. So yeah, I’m down to four classes that still need to be leveled to 110 and five classes that still need their Class Hall campaign finished. I’m currently working on finishing my Shaman’s campaign while also trying to level my Mage, who is sitting at 104. All in all I feel I’ve done a lot in WoW and I think the majority of my MMO gaming time will be spent there in March aswell.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV I’ve leveled my Summoner/Scholar to level 70 as I hoped I would. I’ve barely touched any of the other classes though, except for a few crafters that I’ve gotten up to level 30 (Armorer, Culinarian and almost Blacksmith). I’ve done my beast tribe dailies here and there and did the first wing of the new Omega raid but otherwise the game didn’t really keep my attention much.
  • In single player games I’ve not actually played that much. I’ve continued a bit of Yo-Kai Watch, dabbled a bit in Persona 5 and started Dragon Quest Builders on my Switch. For some reason my willingness and energy that I want to put into games is at an all time low so besides MMO’s I’ve not really played that much at all.
  • IRL I’ve not lost the weight that I wanted to lose. I had hoped that I would be able to go outside a bit more but especially the past week has been unbearable as far as temperatures go so I rather stay inside than go out and freeze to death.

What am I looking forward to in March?
Well first of all I’ll be celebrating my 29th birthday halfway during the month. I had kind of agreed to not wanting a birthday present, but maybe my Dad will surprise me nonetheless. I can also finally pick up my diploma at the University, an event which I’ve been looking forward to for the past four years or so. It finally closes a very stressful chapter in my life and I would love to finally feel stress free in that regard.
I’m also starting the search for a new job since I feel like I’m not really where I should be at work anymore. I’m kind of grumpy, do not enjoy my tasks anymore and don’t feel inspired by the people I work with. All signs that it’s time to move on and luckily I will get some help from one of my managers. I also really want to get on track with working out more so keep your eyes out for some fitbit news on my Twitter and maybe here on the blog.

Now to the actual topic: Games.

  • I want to keep up what I’m doing right now in World of Warcraft which is work towards getting Exalted with the Argus factions on my Warrior and gear both my Warrior and Monk so I can run high level Mythic + dungeons on them. I really enjoy doing them on my Monk and I actually predict that I’ll be getting to higher level M+ on her than on my Warrior. I also want to get my Mage up to 110 and finish the Shaman class campaign. I’m thinking of leveling one of the new Allied Races but I’m not sure yet. I’d rather focus on getting all my remaining high level characters to 110, which are Warlock, Rogue and Death Knight after I’m done with Mage.
  • In FFXIV I want to check out Eureka. The patch is coming in two weeks and probably (finally) has the Stormblood Relic weapon tied to it so I’m definitely going to check out all of that. I also want to level atleast another class to level 70. As it stands right now it will probably either Machinist or Black Mage or maybe even both. I’m also slowly nudging my Crafters up so if I could get all of them to level 30 atleast that’s another goal I can strike off my list.
  • I want to spend a bit more time on both Persona 5 and Dragon Quest Builders. I absolutely adore playing both games and I feel like I need a serious story game and a lighthearted one side by side right now and those two games fit the bill perfectly. I know that especially Persona can be quite long before I finish it but I still want to play it, it’s just that good. For the rest I’m unsure what I’ll do with my time games wise. I’ve picked up the latest Layton game recently and am hooked on all the tiny mini puzzles that you get as daily downloads, but the mainstory isn’t that appealing to me yet. I may pick it up as distraction from the more story driven RPGs.. I do like solving the puzzles.

All in all I mostly want to use this month to further my real life goals and maybe pick up some gaming on the side. I’m in a bit of a slump anyway and I feel like I should do other stuff than spend most of my free time playing games. It’s a phase that will probably pass, but for now expect a bit less gaming from me and a bit more real life stuff.

A (slightly) Disgruntled WiiU Owner

I’ve been mulling over whether or not I want to write this post. With the recent announcement of more WiiU ports to the Switch, and me reinstalling my WiiU again to play games, I feel like I want to get this post out sooner rather than later.
I am well aware that this is a debate going on within the Nintendo community and it has split the community into various camps. I find myself to be in the digruntled WiiU owner camp mostly, but the reasons may differ from what I’ve seen online so far.

What is it all about?
Nintendo has announced their line up plans for the Switch multiple times. From the get go it was clear that they were going to reuse some of the things from the WiiU to target a broader audience now that the Switch was launched. I myself hopped on the bandwagon for Mario Kart 8 DX, mostly because it’s one of my favourite franchises, it had bonus tracks as default that you had to purchase as standalone packs on the WiiU and being able to take Mario Kart with you anywhere and be able to play with anyone was super appealing. Later on we got Pokken Tournament DX. I wasnt too phased by that since I’m not interested in that type of game but I could hear the community grumble a bit. Luckily with Arms and Splatoon 2 Nintendo showed us that they were more than capable of bringing us new IP’s and also sequels instead of direct ports. Even though by all means Splatoon 2 is half a port, I still picked it up because I’ve never gotten Splatoon on my WiiU. Notice that I’m not counting Breath of the Wild as a port seeing as it was a simultaneous release for the WiiU and Switch and I personally chose to get it on WiiU.
Fast forward a bit and more ports of WiiU games are announced. We are getting Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Bayonetta. Two great WiiU titles that should have gotten a bigger audience than they did. Nintendo realized this and chose to bring these games over to the Switch as ports.

Now this is where it starts to wring
As a WiiU owner myself I’m happy that Nintendo recognizes that games like DKC: TF and Bayonetta are deserving of more love and that they want to bring them over to the Switch. Hell if you don’t own a WiiU it’s great to be able to pick up these games and play what you’ve been missing out on! The ports themselves are probably just fine, you get more polished images and maybe a few extra modes. If you don’t own these games I strongly recommend to pick them up. However….
Nintendo is releasing these games at full prices. Me, being the WiiU owner that I am, already own these games. There is zero incentive for me to rebuy a game that I already own for a new system. And certainly not at full price. Just for comparison, DKC: TF is only €25 right now because it’s a Nintendo select so it’s easily picked up for WiiU owners. The Bayonetta special edition (which contained both Bayonetta 1 and 2) cost me €50. Seeing as these are marketed as new games for the Switch they will be expensive. I’m sure as hell not going to rebuy a game that I already own, that gets little to nothing special added, at full price. It may be nice to have the portability of the Switch for these games and they may look better but it’s simply something I refuse to do.
And I’m not the only one.
It also saddens me a bit because instead of focusing on new games in the series (with the exception being Bayonetta 3) they release ports and then hope people will be happy. I rather get an entirely new Donkey Kong game than a rehash of one I already know and have. The same can be said for Pokken DX and MK8 DX. I much rather would have had an entirely new Mario Kart game. I know that ports require less resources and I know Nintendo wants to keep people’s attention so they probably feel the pressure to bring as many games to the system as they can. Which is fine, but I feel like they’re going about it in a less than ideal way.

Ofcourse I’m not a big publisher and I know these games will sell well, even for people that already own their WiiU counterparts. But it still feels like they could have put this time of porting into focussing on bringing the Virtual player to the Switch, do something about the My Nintendo rewards for Switch (which they have finally announced!) or just give us more customizability. And maybe take a look at the Switch E-shop and get rid of all the shovelware games.

I guess I’m just a bit salty about not being able to look forward to a lot of actual new games. I know that Kirby Star Allies will come out and I will definitely pick that one up, aswell as most likely Project Octopath Traveler and Bayonetta 3. I’ve also not nearly finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Super Mario Odyssey so I still have tons of hours of playtime to get out of my Switch without even having to look at the ported games. But where my 3DS library is full of amazing games I feel like my Switch is falling behind… And that’s not what I hoped it would do.
I just really hope Nintendo picks up on the mixed messages when it comes to porting games and devotes more time to develop sequels instead.