Kid Tripp

So Adam and I were able to get a copy of Kid Tripp for the Nintendo Switch thanks to @IndieGamerChick via twitter for #IndieSelect  and spent some time playing it. Ultimately it’s an NES looking game where you play as red hat wearing boy who’s airplane crashes into a giraffe, and now has to run constantly through a series of levels while jumping over obstacles.  You know, that old chestnut. You’re able to hold the jump button (A) for longer jumps and bounces off of most enemies heads, and you can also press the B button to to shoot small projectiles out in an arcing motion. If you hold the left stick away from your forward motion, you slow your pace SLIGHTLY which is helpful to nail some platforming jumps that show up. Simple stuff right?

          I’m (Sean) personally not a fan of these types of “Run forward always” types of games, such as Temple Run and really more so like Mario Run, where Adam is indifferent to them. I enjoy platforming and reaching goals, but the endless push forward is just a style I don’t prefer because I take my time. However, there’s times where speed is necessary and with a clock running getting to that goal sign to complete the level is the task, so off you go! You know what else is all over these levels? Stupid effin’ animals and insects/creatures is what! Timing your jumps perfectly to leap over some of these critters or even to stomp on their head with the constant forward motion has led to some…. unfortunate incidents. Usually involving us yelling at the screen haha. The simple graphics are charming, though we swear this kid looks cross eyed sometimes due to his pupil and hair being the same 8 bit black color, which we did get a laugh from.
There’s thankfully no penalty for dying (which we did, constantly sometimes). You will die, this is very much trial and error and remembering the weird jump or when to shoot because an enemy you can’t jump on is about to be in your path. Stuff like that, so when you use up all your lives you at least can start from the level you are currently on, just forfeit all coins you had collected up to that point. Every 100 (maybe 200? You get them easily and are usually too busy concentrating on when to jump than when you actually see the 1UP appear, it’s more like hey nice…. gotta go gotta go gotta go!). Each level felt different, each level would include a new creature with ones from previous levels making appearances as well. That’s part of the trial and error, seeing what patterns the new critters have and what it’s gonna take to pass them or end their lives. Especially that monkey:

Damm that monkey, very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog games with the coconut throwing monkey. This jerk also grins when you’re hit or die by any means as shown:

 

 

 What a jerk. I definitely lost needless lives just trying to throw things at him, sometimes walking into spikes or not hitting jump in time. But that monkey got his. Oh yes, he got his right in that monkey face. I clearly took this too personally, Adam needed to talk me down a few times when the monkey fueled rage got too much. That’s the thing with these games, you gotta calm down, take your time (even though you can’t because the game itself propels you forward… but you know what I mean) and see the next jump or obstacle ahead and prepare accordingly. Or die, and keep getting a little further each time. Ultimately this is not the kind of game I would have picked up for myself, but I really did enjoy playing it. The nostalgia factor is high because this looks straight out of the NES days, the music helps with that as well, nothing like some chiptunes to bring back the childhood.

I think this is a well done game, sometimes the challenge increases quicker than I expected in some early levels, but it’s a fail and repeat process to progress. The VG Boys very much enjoy our Nintendo Switch(es) and are happy to add another to the collection. Give it a shot, even if it’s outside your comfort zone like it was mine.

post

Secret of Mana Remake for PS4 first look and thoughts

I meant to post this immediately following this year’s attendance at Comic Con 2017 in NYC, but hey, better a little late then never. They had a couple of games to test out on the main floor, the lines of which were pretty long when I went on Friday and then even longer on Saturday! I had some time to myself Saturday and decided to go and play Secret of Mana which is coming out this February (15th seems to be the exact date they haven’t changed as of the writing of this) for the PS4, Vita and PC, which is actually just a few months short of the 25th anniversary of it’s initial release on the Super Nintendo.

 

I originally had loaded a save file, which found myself at Neko’s just south of the Water Temple and had begun exploring when I was told I had to start a new game and play up to the first boss (grrr, I had watched others play up to that point and was hoping I could get a little further without being noticed!). So, I complied. I was brought back to the familiar beginning on top of the large log overlooking a waterfall with 3 young boys, and your character falls (to what one would assume is his death, but against all odds that’s not the case) and you’re soon greeted by a ghost and pull out a sword beginning all sorts of terribleness in this world. You know, that old chestnut.


A few things I noticed; The graphics were very large and in your face, but also childish. It was a bit like Final Fantasy Explorers for the 3DS. This was a game aimed for a younger audience back in ’93, so I can’t fault them for going cartoony and I can dig it. Also, voice acting! A welcome change to what was purely reading in the SNES days, it’s nice to have something to listen to and not just read. However, it’s like a low budget voice addition. Everyone keeps the same permanent face their character has with words coming between closed, or frowning or smiling features. However they look, there’s absolutely no lip movement to match the voice work, which is odd at first but hey, it’s a remake of something that had nothing like that at all and I am not going to nitpick something like this. Especially when by the time you get to the first town, EVERYONE has something to say, and by that I mean speak, with voice acting, and for that first town anyway, no two voices sounded the same. This guy and that guy, that old lady, shop keeper, all unique and I’m happy about that. I can’t imagine every single person in the game will be unique. I’m sure random NPC in this town will sound like another in some other town, but to at least be unique in the same town is pretty outstanding.


Combat…. is very slow paced as it was on the SNES which is fine, they don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. The original system worked well and with a couple practice swings, you re-learn the ropes of letting the numbers on your status bar tick up to 100 to perform another attack at full power. Once you earn your first charge up,  I feel the area of hit for that first charge attack is less forgiving, making it so you really need to be dead on with where the enemy is to connect or you whiff and leave yourself exposed. I don’t recall if it was that way for the original, but it keeps you on your toes. That first boss…. the giant Mantis creature, it was really cool to see them larger than life, with detail, and more than just a static image of facing forward only. Now, he can turn his body towards you and move his limbs. I always enjoyed that first simple boss and defeating him brought back the same memories of joy I had when I first played decades ago (that is so much more painful to write years ago and then realize it was actually over 20… old!).


Anything I could pick apart from this playthrough is…. well I very much dislike some of the “straight from the original” movements that I encountered. When the bully, Elliot, starts to “punch” the main character after you return to the Village Elder, and then the earthquake begins causing him to run around in panic, you do not see him throwing any punches like the original, and he runs around awkwardly on his set path, the exact path he did in the original SNES version only now it looks incredibly out of pace, rigid and just poorly done. These graphics are updated, I don’t see why they can’t just make that scene look a LITTLE better. It’s very jarring. I was able to play a little bit more after the first boss to see Dyluck and the soldiers preparing to fight the Witch, and even their abrupt movement to the left off screen was just rigid and looked out of place. Also talking to someone’s back causes that jarring “they’re suddenly looking right at you unnaturally”. A person turns their body to face you, it was understandable in the 2D SNES sprites of the past, but to see if now is just weird.


Anyway, none of those little complaints are going to matter in February when I will absolutely play this game and love it and play with friends and for a little while relive some childhood memories together. I honestly can’t remember (which is why I should have wrote this sooner when the memory was fresh!) if the soundtrack sounded updated, I don’t recall hearing anything other than the original score (which for the record, has been on cds, music players, iPods, etc., since I was able to download or rip music, so I know the score well) and it sounded like what I love, but perhaps it was re-scored? If it was it certainly wasn’t fully orchestrated or anything, that I would have noticed. It’s available for pre-purchase on steam already and pre-order on the PlayStation store, both of which offer wall-papers and 2 sets of bonus outfits for the heroes to wear (the tiger bikini for the girl I remember as an actual outfit from the original… so I’m unsure if things you can equip change your appearance or if these are special re-skins that you can only get from the pre-order. I only bought 2 pieces of clothing from the first shop and didn’t see any difference so I’m thinking it’s the latter. Actually, that reminds me! The equipment and accessories all had stats, which is definitely a new feature, which showed more than just defense, but included passive defenses like being poisoned, ballooned, etc. I like that. Adding depth to the equipment is something I definitely appreciate. In any case, expect a full review of the remake once I’ve had the chance to really sink my teeth in after it’s release in February 2018.

E3 2017 PREVIEW PODCAST EPISODE!

E3 2017 Preview Episode

Finally, E3 has returned… This is actually the first year where the convention is open to the public! It makes a ton of sense considering that gamers across the globe have access to the information almost as quickly as they release it.

In this episode of the podcast we talk about what we would like to see revealed and comment on updates on hardware and games that we expect to see for sure.

We comment on the upcoming games planned for the Nintendo Switch, the virtual console on the Switch, Skyrim, Metroid, and more!

We are excited for the EA presentation which includes Star Wars Battlefront II that finally has a campaign/story mode that the first release so desperately needed…and Kylo Ren as a playable character!

And E3 aside, how amped is everyone for the Castlevania Netflix series that releases on July 07, 2017!? There’s so much to look forward to this year and into the future. Check out this weeks episode here! Please don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

-Adam

 

Comments or inquiries? Email us!

Follow us!

High time for Skyrim Adventures: “Bolg!”

Here I get to introduce our first series of “Let’s Play” videos. What better way than to kick it off with a little Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?! I made an attempt at a stealthy, thieving, magic using, and overall rotten souled Dark Elf. For any fans of “The Hobbit” films, you may have already figured out this ironic name given to an elf just doesn’t seem to make any sense. As I would suggest, sometimes you just roll with it. I didn’t want to eat up anyone’s life hours by spending significant time creating and customizing a character name/look. The Skyrim veterans will likely appreciate that. Check out our YouTube channel for more!

-Adam

Comments or inquiries? Email us!

Follow us

 

Stardew Valley

Hello fellow gamers! Sean here, with what I imagine most of you reading this already have already experienced it, and for those of you who haven’t, perhaps this will help give you a better understanding of what the excitement has been about since it released in February…. STARDEW VALLEY!!!! At it’s core, a farming simulator, but honestly it’s so much more than that. The concept is simple, especially if you are familiar with Rune Factory, Innocent Life or the Harvest Moon series (all of which I’m a big time fan of!). You start off an average city dweller going through the grind until you decide to open a letter from your now deceased grandfather revealing he’s left you the deed to his farm in Stardew Valley! You pack up and head to the valley to begin a new life and see what kind of opportunity farm life has to offer!

2016-04-11_18-35-03 2016-04-17_23-54-15

In addition to growing and harvesting various crops, the availability of which is dependent on the season, there’s animals to raise (also a staple of the harvest moon series), fishing, mining, gathering various food, flowers and objects found in the wild. There’s various objects to craft for aesthetic purposes to make your farm look nice but most creations serve a very useful function on the farm, such as a keg for turning hops into pale ale, barley into beer or various fruit you grow to make wine, mayonnaise machine for turning eggs into mayonnaise and so on and so forth. You can do whatever you want. Hate growing crops? Go fish or forage or mine for things you can sell in your shipping box to turn a profit. How you choose to spend your time is up to you, so managing your time also becomes your responsibility. The day begins at 6am, and typically you want to be in bed before 12, staying up past 12 will result in you waking with less energy, which is your bar shown on screen that allows you to use tools such as your fishing rod, watering can to water your crops or axe to chop down trees. 2am is the absolute cutoff, you do NOT want to be caught outside bed at that time, or your character will drop to their knees and wake up in bed, with a letter from the local doctor with a bill for assisting you or sometimes from a local villager who claims they found you but not before someone was seen searching your pockets robbing you of some fundage!

There’s also an entire town of people who you can make friends with, each with their own likes and dislikes and personalities, and it’s fun to get to know their stories and interact with them on a daily basis. Gifting them food or objects they like will earn you hearts under the social tab of the menu, a maximum of 10 which will change in how they speak to you and after achieving a certain amount, they may even start sending you recipes, which you can make use of after you purchase your first house upgrade and earn a kitchen extension. There are also 10 eligible bachelors/bachelorettes available for wooing and ultimately marrying if you so choose to. ALL are available, regardless of your gender, which is also completely up to you to choose when you first start your game along with looks and name. I like that anyone can marry anyone, it’s 2016, about time! I will admit, the males don’t seem to be developed as well as the female characters, but that’s also a male’s opinion so maybe someone else disagrees, all I know is there are a lot of relationships to develop and I’m enjoying getting to know the townsfolk (some more than others of course… I’m talking about you of course Abigail).

I’ve played through an entire year as of writing this article and while I’ve seen and done so many things…. there’s still so many things I know I have yet to unlock and experience. Plenty of bundles to complete at the town community center (basically various items you donate as per a listed request which unlocks various things, such as the bus to the desert or mine carts which allow for faster travel around the town) as well as legendary fish which I need to hunt down and conquer…. because reasons dammit! I’m hooked and it’s honestly a miracle I pulled myself away long enough to write this out, there’s still so much I want to accomplish in the game it’s staggering!

The game’s creator, Eric Barone who also is known as ConcernedApe, worked on this game tirelessly for 4 years. After the amount of time I’ve already put into this game, to even imagine one person coming up with all of this is not only impressive, it’s inspiring to think about what indie developers are capable of in this modern age. He also can be found on his twitter directly talking to players when they send crash reports and he works very hard to fix problems, even going so far as to fix save files when the game initially released! That’s a level of dedication I’ve never seen, and he continues to improve the game, with updates (as of now, free) and what I’m most looking forward to is the multiplayer feature. Initially it was intended to be included upon release, but after 4 years I can imagine wanting to give players at least a taste of what he had finished and it blew expectations! Multiplayer will be just another fun way to enjoy a game like this with a friend, and I’m all about fun with friends. Check it out on steam right now, $15 is not a lot to drop on any game and that money stretches quite far with all the features this game has to offer you. I hope this gamer’s opinion has helped sway some of you, thanks for reading!

The Pokémon Company Offers Legendary Pokémon in May, 2016

Pokemon 20th anniversary smallAccording to The Pokémon Company , a trio of Legendary Pokémon will be available for lucky Pokémon Trainers Club members come May of 2016 (via newsletter) – Only three weeks away! These Legendary Pokémon, Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres will be available via code in the Pokémon Trainers newsletter. You must have an account with Pokémon.com to receive the codes in your inbox. Sign-up is free. We tested it already.

These Pokémon codes may be used for several Pokémon games available for the Nintendo 3DS system; Pokémon X, Pokémon Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby, and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire.

If you missed our podcast on the “Pokémon 20th Anniversary Celebration!”, check it out HERE.

post

What’s Old Is New: A Visit to Gotham City Games (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

By Adam Malmut (VGBoys)

RETRO GAMING DEFINED:

Powered by social media and a video game collector’s community, there has been a recent revival in popularity in what video game enthusiasts would call “Retro Gaming.” What is retro gaming? It depends who you ask. The general consensus from our research would define “retro” as video games that were developed and released up through the 4th generation console era. More specifically, this is when gamers were playing on 16-bit consoles; Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx-16, among others. Many other game players would include Sony Playstation, Sega CD, and Nintendo 64 as well. As we suggested, it depends who you’re asking. Naturally, this would also include everything that released before these systems. 

Many social media users utilize hash tags to connect with their desired online community. Hash tags such as #RetroCollective and #RetroGamer will land an Instagram user in the midst of a retro gaming photo hull. But some may question the relevance of retro gaming during a time where small handheld technologies like the smartphone exist. Technology has even brought us to the beginnings of virtual reality being accessible and mass-produced. Why look back? The re-introduction of privately owned video games stores may be a sign that new technology may not be enticing enough to keep the attention of the modern video game player.

PRIVATELY OWNED STORES RETURN:

VGBoys.com recently visited with Ralph Pugliese, owner of Gotham City Games, a Brooklyn-based video game store that caters to the retro video game market. We were seeking answers to find out why retro is back. Pugliese says that he knew that retro games would be popular. “It’s nostalgia,” said Pugliese. “We want to re-buy things from our past that brought us joy…games in the 80’s and 90’s were more pure. Just press start and play and figure it out as you go.”

Gotham City Games began about five years ago in a garage in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. “I had another job at the time working with my Father’s landscaping company which allowed me to have time off in the winter months,” said Pugliese. “In those 2 -3 months off work, I would seek out video game collections all over the tri-state area, as well as work on refurbishing systems and games.” After building his inventory though garage sales, trading, and hunting down games at local flea markets in Downtown Brooklyn, Pugliese decided to open Gotham City Games at their Brick and Mortar location on January 2015.

How does a privately owned store compete with the mainstream giants of the video game industry? “GCG is definitely different from mainstream video game stores like Gamestop,” Pugliese said. “We have strict focus on used games and accessories prior to the Xbox 360 generation. This helps makes us different… Direct competition with a gaming juggernaut corporation is not a good business plan. Here at GCG we do sell new games, but it is not our primary focus.”

RETRO NINTENDO STANDS STRONG:

Ralph Pugliese tells us that Nintendo 64 and Gameboy are the most popular systems in his shop. “Gameboy batteries last and people love them for their commute,” says Pugliese. “Playing Mario on Gameboy is still way better than most mobile games out today.” When staying at home, Nintendo is still the way to go according to the Gotham City Games owner. “The N64 remains, to this day, the best multiplayer gaming system. I brought mine to college and it was the most played system for me and my friends.” We asked Ralph what draws his customers toward older games when there are so many new games available. “Many games now have long tutorials and learning curves,” said Pugliese. “Not to mention the fact that some have un-skippable cut scenes and so on. In the time it takes to start up Metal Gear Solid V, you could have already played and defeated Shredder in Turtles in Time. ”

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY:

Gamers are a passionate group. If you ask any of the self-proclaimed “Gamers” on social media, most will admit that it becomes a lifestyle rather than a social activity. Gamers connect with pictures of their personal collections, share stories of their gaming experiences, and become impassioned when deliberating over which console is the greatest. It may be such a passion that leads to stores like Gotham City Games to come into existence. “I wanted to open a video game store because I always enjoyed video games and doing something that you love is extremely rewarding,” says Pugliese. Community outreach remains a focus for Gotham City Games. “Our biggest [event] was NYC Comic Con and we are going back this year even bigger.”

WHAT’S NEW AT GOTHAM CITY?

“New items would definitely be the addition of toys, most notably the Funko products, as well as the apparel we have added to shop,” explains Pugliese. “We now carry officially licensed video game and super hero merchandise. Examples are Mario hats and Batman umbrellas and coffee mugs. We also just launched our online e-commerce site and added 200 products and will hopefully have that up to 1,000 in 2 months.”


VG BOYS QUICK-HIT RETRO GAMING TRIVIA (Featuring Ralph Pugliese, Gotham City Games)

  • Q: Choose one – Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter?  
  • A: Tough Call. I’ve enjoyed both and they are probably the top two fighting franchises. I’m going to say Mortal Kombat because I really enjoyed the early ones on the SNES and Genesis.
  • Q: Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, or Pokemon Yellow?  
  • A: Pokémon Yellow, I enjoyed the most because of the TV show. However, I always picked Bulbasaur on Red and Blue and loved them too.
  • Q: In the original Megaman game series, who created Megaman (the character)? 
  • A: I have no idea who created him, but great games – When Capcom was great.
  • Q: What year did original Super Mario Bros. release? 
  • A: I believe 1985 with the system.
  • Q: You’re stuck on a deserted Island with electricity and one console, one game. What is it? 
  • A: SNES, Turtles In Time.
  • Q: What was the most influential game in the retro era vs. modern era of gaming?
  • A: Super Mario 64 (retro), and The Last of Us (modern).

Opinion: Final Fantasy Explorers Rocks!

I have been absolutely loving this game for the 3DS. I’ve always been a fan of handheld gaming, the 3DS definitely being my standard for the past few years. While very reminiscent of the Monster Hunter series, which if anyone has played any title from that lineup you’ll be quick to agree. The very familiar use of staple Final Fantasy job classes certainly show this is indeed a Final Fantasy title. However, this game focuses more on abilities which you have many to choose from and a new feature which allows the player to add special attributes called mutations. An example of this is when a spear is equipped, you can use an ability which can heal yourself and allies, when using the “crystal surge” system which occur through regular combat, certain surges when activated will allow certain abilities, when used during a surge, to potentially mutate with an added ability. This requires purchasing the upgraded move in town and equipping it. So now, as shown below, when certain crystal surges are active and I perform Dragon Heal, there’s a chance it will mutate and gain additional abilities, in this example it has a chance to cooldown quicker than the 20 seconds it requires between uses. 

FFE1FFE2

It’s a little bit of a read I know, and slightly confusing at first but with a couple trial runs it becomes second nature. And if you realize you made a mistake on a skill and want to re-spec it, it’s as simple as equipping the basic skill and starting over mutating it. I’m loving it, my current class of Dark Knight has a buff which will normally up movement speed, but with mutations allows a chance to activate re-raise, life regeneration, haste and the added bonus of any of those bonuses that activate will last longer thanks to duration up bonus. I’m loving the game and hope to post some gameplay footage on our YouTube channel. I highly recommend the game to all!  Tons of monsters to fight, including summons which the series has rebranded Eidolons are the major bosses scattered throughout the world. Weapon/Armor crafting, quests and the much loved multiplayer both locally and online make this worth your time. Check it out if you have the chance!    —Sean

FFE4 FFE3