Category Archives: nintendo 3DS

Pay for 3DS home menu cosmetics through Nintendo Badge Arcade

nintendo badge crane arcade gd impressions

Growing up near both the Atlantic City boardwalk and Ocean City boardwalk, I’ve seen my fair share of crane games. If you don’t know what they are, they are this: vending machines that consist of prizes, usually plush toys or alternatives, which can be acquired by steering a claw crane over them, lowering to grab hold, and then, if you were lucky enough to capture something, dropping it down a chute so that you can rub it against your childish face with glee. Anyways, while I’ve seen a bunch, I’ve played very few, often because, even at a young age, I knew they were a gamble, one slanted a little far to the unfair side of things.

Thankfully, things are monetarily safer with Nintendo Badge Arcade. In fact, the game’s nameless bunny host, who I’ll talk more about in a bit, repeatedly informs you that you don’t have to actually spend real-life cash to play, that there are other ways to earn free plays at the themed crane machines. One almost gets the sense that both this bunny and Nintendo are just as hesitant as–and I’m theorizing here–the player is about paying $1.00 for five chances at moving a crane to the left and then down. Either way, your rewards are badges, though some appear to have sharp tips on the back, making me think of them more as pins than anything else.

What can you do with these prizes, you ask? Not much. They are collectibles, and you can then decorate your home menu with them on the Nintendo 3DS. I layered an 8-bit Mario sprite badge on top of the folder that contains all my Mario games, as well as did the same for my Legend of Zelda titles by using a blue octorok–here’s hoping I get something a bit more iconic down the road–but you can also place the badges anywhere in the menu to create cute or inventive scenarios and such. I’m not ready for that. You can also purchase matching themes to work cooperatively with a set of badges. I’m mostly into the badges that can replace certain applications, but still function as activating them; for example, I now have a Yoshi-themed badge to launch into my library stats thing. I want more of them.

Nintendo Badge Arcade‘s claw crane mechanic works as you expect it to. Simply press and hold a button to begin moving it over to the left and release when you want it to stop and lower. If you did it right, then sit back and watch as the claw does the rest. If you done goofed, then my sympathy. I did play one machine that featured a hammer instead of a claw, and the hammer swings forward, hitting everything in its path towards the chute. I got like three or four more badges on this machine.

By far, the most appealing thing about this free-to-play app is its host, which is a charismatic and energetic pink bunny. Who cuts through the cheddar and speaks as plain as possible about what this program is and how you do not have to spend any money on it…though it would help keep the lights on and bills paid if you do. This bunny will randomly change into costumes and other things, as well as promote a Nintendo game in a surprisingly candid and conversationally manner. Heck, I actually felt a slight ping of interest in The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes after speaking with Badge Business Bunny–that’s what I’m going to call him–for a minute or two. Maybe I’m just a sucker for trivia.

I expect to not drop a single ounce of real-life money on Nintendo Badge Arcade, but do see myself checking in every night alongside Pokemon Shuffle as my once-per-day go at progress. The practice claw machine may or may not provide me with free plays, but it’s worth a shot and won’t take very long. I’m definitely interested in more of the app replacement badges, as well as all things related to Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Perhaps I can have Sylvia back in my life after all.

Exploration is the name of The Legend of Legacy’s game

gd impressions legend-of-legacy-3

Yesterday, during my lunch break, I did two things: one, I picked up a copy of The Legend of Legacy, which is a new JRPG from Atlus, and two, I put down some cash money on a pre-order of the forthcoming Xbox One bundle for Fallout 4. Now, of those two, one is certainly more exciting than the other, but I’ll talk about my decision to go with an Xbox One as my entryway into the current generation of videogaming at a later date. For now, it’s all about mapping and grinding, sometimes simultaneously.

Some of you might remember a wee unassuming game back on the PlayStation 1 called SaGa Frontier. In fact, I used to own a copy. Anyways, despite not sharing the franchise name or even having a unique, catchy title of its own, The Legend of Legacy is a spiritual successor from Furyu, in conjunction with former staff members for Square Enix and Level-5. Namely illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi and designer Kyoji Koizumi of the SaGa series, Masato Kato, writer of Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, Masashi Hamauzu, Final Fantasy XIII‘s composer, as well as ex-Level-5 staffer Masataka Matsuura as its director. Yup, it’s got quite a pedigree of creatives behind the wheel.

I’m going to hit you with a truth bomb right from the start: I don’t know the plot. I might not ever know the plot. It’s seemingly going to be told through poetry and over-dramatic descriptions of things done in the ancient past. At the start of The Legend of Legacy, you get to pick one of seven characters to play as, and I went with the default swordsman Meurs, though there are a bunch of other traditional tropes like the girl with amnesia or the ambitious, smarmy treasure hunter. After that, stuff happens, and the fellow who first discovered the island of Avalon and now goes by the uninteresting title of King of Adventurers has sent you and two others off to discover…um, I have no idea. There’s a rock that sang to my party of heroes, and then I filled in a map of a forest. Yeah.

The Legend of Legacy‘s combat is turn-based, which means it has to have more to it than just that to stand out in the crowd. Bravely Default allowed you to either burn later turns or store them up for extra actions at the risk of not being able to do anything later on if you didn’t kill the monsters right away. Paper Mario: Sticker Star requires precise button presses to deal extra damage or survive a bit longer. Some games can get by on simple turn-based combat, but not all. Anyways, The Legend of Legacy takes its leveling system from the classic SaGa games of old, which means characters don’t gain levels per se, but rather parameters and abilities based on how they acted in a fight. Ideally, this means that your sword skill levels up the more you attack with it, you gain more HP by taking damage more often, and so on, though it can feel random as it dishes out these upgrades. One nice touch is that your party is automatically fully healed after each fight.

I will say, while I abhorred filling in maps for the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV, it seems kind of fun here. Heck, I suspect that if one is fast enough they could fill in the maps quickly while still avoiding on-screen enemies in pursuit. I’ve not done this yet, but once you complete a map and all its sub-areas, you can return to town and sell it for big money, which is st in The Legend of Legacy. I know not what st stands for–stitches, perhaps–but it is an acceptable currency, and that’s enough for me.

Visually, The Legend of Legacy is pretty. It has a pop-up storybook element to its dungeons, with trees and rocks and strange, singing structures lifting up from the ground as you get closer, filling in the world around you. Not quite to the snuff of Bastion, but the idea is the same. Back in town, the game uses that zoomed out trick from Bravely Default, pulling the camera in closer as you move around and explore the inn, shops, and local inhabitants. The character designs are neat, and I almost selected the strange frog warrior because, c’mon, it’s a frog warrior, but decided to go with Meurs, which the game defaults to. Either way, I managed to recruit the frog warrior to my team in town later on, so I guess it doesn’t ultimately matter who you start with if they all team up in the end.

I’ve only put an hour and a half into The Legend of Legacy, and I’m seeing a lot of reviews call it a slow grindfest with no incentives, which is worrying, but we’ll see how things progress from here. As one knows, I’m okay with a game heavy on grinding, though I do like to be constantly working towards something in the end. If it’s just more singing rocks, then this legacy might not last very long.

2015 Game Review Haiku, #50 – LEGO Jurassic World (Nintendo 3DS)

LEGO® Jurassic World™_20150402175119

Dinosaurs and man
The lack of humility
Big ideas, small game

From 2012 all through 2013, I wrote little haikus here at Grinding Down about every game I beat or completed, totaling 104 in the end. I took a break from this format last year in an attempt to get more artsy, only to realize that I missed doing it dearly. So, we’re back. Or rather, I am. Hope you enjoy my continued take on videogame-inspired Japanese poetry in three phases of 5, 7, and 5, respectively.

Decided not to endorse LEGO Jurassic World on the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS LEGO Jurassic World impressions

In July, I went on vacation to Walt Disney World and knew that I was going to hate the plane ride to Florida–mind you, only a two-hour plane ride at most, but two hours of hate hate hate–and thought that perhaps playing a new videogame set in a beloved franchise about terrible lizards while miles high in the air would help distract me from the fact that I was miles high in the air. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to focus too much on LEGO Jurassic World on my Nintendo 3DS due to nerves and that infrequent turbulence. Since then, I’ve dabbled at it and have, after some consideration, decided not to endorse any further LEGO videogame iterations on handheld consoles. Yup, all that build-up…for a stupid quote tie-in.

Before I truly get into it, I have tried out a few other LEGO games on my Nintendo 3DS in the past, which is a fantastic system, but one not built for the scope of these stud-collecting, brick-building adventures. LEGO Lord of the Rings for the handheld seemed fine, much better than LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes. Regardless, I was hoping by now that the different iterations on consoles and handhelds would be much more similar; alas, that is not the case, as LEGO Jurassic World feels like ten percent of what one could experience–and enjoy–on a home console, which is where I do like playing these games.

Everything is smaller, more streamlined. One might say that’s a good thing, considering that, for many, the point of the Nintendo 3DS and its ilk is for bite-size action, enough to kill a bus or train ride to work by keeping your head down and not having to speak to another human soul. However, several of the levels in LEGO Jurassic World are auto-scrollers, with someone either running or driving towards the screen, and they are finishable in under a minute or so if you don’t stumble over too many obstacles. That just doesn’t seem right, like the moment when you learn that InGen’s scientists are playing god and denying dinosaurs hormones that determine their gender. The remainder of the traditional levels are extremely linear, with little-to-no chance for exploration and discovery; also, so long as you punch and break every LEGO object along the way, you are nearly guaranteed to earn the “True Survivor” challenge, which asks you to collect a specific number of studs.

On more than one occasion, a puzzle in a LEGO videogame would bring everything to a halt. Either I wouldn’t be able to figure out what person or special ability to use to advance or missed a teeny tiny detail earlier in the level. Here, on the portable LEGO Jurassic World, there’s never been a glimpse of such roadblocks. You go into a level with only so many characters, and if you try to use something that is not for your specific ability, the game tells you who is needed right away. There’s been a few boss fights against velociraptors and the T-Rex, which boil down to quick time events.

There’s also terribly long load times in LEGO Jurassic World. I feel like it’s been ages since a load time–on a modern device–has been tedious enough to warrant complaining. I mean, this is a much smaller game, with shorter levels and less to do in each one. Why does it take over a minute to move from the visitor’s center to the outside? Or even back to the main menu? Believe it or not, but this waiting is extremely off-putting, especially when all you really want to do is get into the thick of things, collect some studs, and see some dinosaurs. Here’s how bad it is; once I finish going through all the levels for all four major film titles, I will consider the game done and take it out of my Nintendo 3DS. Yes, in a rare twist, I will not be replaying any of this game to get all the collectibles or red bricks or what-have-yous–it’s just not worth it, especially when I know that I’ll eventually get to play all of this again, but on a grander scale, with Achievements to boot.

Even though this iteration is kind of a tiny pile of dino droppings, I still plan to get LEGO Jurassic World for the Xbox 360, but only after I finish it off here, in its stunted form, as well as after I get 100.0% completion rate in LEGO Marvel, which is not being played on a handheld console. Progress on that one is slow and sporadic, but we’ll get there in the end. There’s also this forthcoming LEGO Dimensions to think about too. Gah, too many LEGO games, not enough LEGO time to get it all LEGO done. Er, wait. I think I need to rest now.

Shutting this Nintendo Club down with freebies

club nintendo post gd end of april

A little while back, Nintendo emailed me. Chances are, if you are a member of Club Nintendo, you also got a similar email, though we might differ on one main point–status. Anyways, they wanted to inform me that I had earned a Gold status in their unblinking, Mario-esque eyes, which meant I was entitled to a free game, a digital download at zero cost, and I had a list to pick from for either the Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Wii U. Those that got Platinum status had a larger pool to pick from, and I made a mental note to come back and get my not-yet-selected freebie. Fast-forward to yesterday, the deadline for this promotion, and I scanned the list and picked…well, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Wii U.

Hold your horses, you say. Ah, I say back. You must be one of my highly attentive readers, for you are properly confused as to why I’d buy a digital game only available for the Wii U when I do not have a Wii U. Let me spoil it for you: I have a Wii U, and I’ve had a Wii U for many, many months. Since last fall, actually. I’ve just not found much to say about the system, which, in its own little way, maybe says more than I ever could. I’m not sure how well playing a two-screen game like Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on the Wii U works–yes, I am not disregarding the fact that the console also has two screen, but they are somewhat separated–but I’m interested in learning.

Since I was already logged in to Club Nintendo’s site, I did a little more browsing and discovered I had 650 Coins sitting pretty up in the top corner. Suddenly, I remembered–there was something I wanted to use those on! Specifically, the Animal Crossing: New Leaf-themed deck of playing cards. Alas, they were no longer available, which is what I get for not hopping to it. Boo. None of the other physical items called out to me so I spent my well-earned reward coins on two more digital downloads for the Wii U: EarthBound and NES Remix. The former is a classic RPG that I’ve long wanted to play, just not through an illegal emulator, and the latter is a bunch of quick, quirky challenges in NES titles of yesteryear.

I’ve not actually loaded up either EarthBound or Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga yet, as RPGs like that require a time commitment, which I’m not ready to give, mostly because all my RPGing at the moment is going into Final Fantasy IX. I’ll get to them soon, perhaps over the summer. That said, I did load up NES Remix last night and found myself seriously absorbed, unable to stop until I had completed all of the levels for Excitebike and one-third of the ones for the original Super Mario Bros. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ll save further thoughts for its own dedicated blog post.

All that said, I am left with 100 coins in my Club Nintendo profile, which can be spent on…next to nothing. I can purchase one item for 80 Coins, which is called Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! Hmm. It’s a fast-paced game of skill and timing, where the player must barbecue all kinds of meats on the grill. In one way, it sounds amazing, and in another, it sounds like a gimmick that would quickly get old. Alas, I don’t think you can earn any more coins for your profile, so it is either this or let my coins vanish in the end. I’m not really tormented over this decision. Club Nintendo is shutting down at the end of June, so I have plenty of time to weigh my options.

If you too were brandished with either Gold or Platinum status, what freebie did you pick? Also, if you have those Animal Crossing: New Leaf-themed playing cards, I’ll trade you a free copy of Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! for it. That’s a pretty good deal, and you know it.

Pokémon Shuffle’s Mega Glalie is bad game design

Pokemon Shuffle Mega Glalie is the worst

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was stuck on Pokémon Shuffle‘s level 120 against Mega Glalie, and that everything was fine because, no matter what, my pocket monsters were continuing to gain XP and grow stronger and, without a doubt, I’d eventually have a team powerful enough to conquer the annoying, Generation III ice-type levitating face and move on to level 121. Astoundingly, that hasn’t happened yet, and I’ve been, more or less, using all five of my hearts against the bloody ripper every night before bed. I’m sorry to say, but this is some really bad game design, and I can’t recall the last time I hit such a visible wall in a game.

I’m not the only one struggling. If you type both “Mega Glalie” and Pokémon Shuffle into Google, you’ll quickly get returns for posts about people unable to beat the beast, people beating it using every item and Jewel they had and only then crawling past the finish line, and people puffing their chests out like mighty lions, claiming to have defeated Mega Glalie easily, using no items at all. Uh huh. Here’s a handful of confetti. If you are to use items, which are, let me remind y’all, quite costly, many are suggesting Complexity -1s, Mega Starts, and Disruption Delays.

For me, there’s certainly a stubborn drive behind my desire to beat Mega Glalie without any items, and this is not at all to prove I am a big macho man and super skilled at matching severed Pokémon heads. I conquered all 119 Pokémon levels before Mega Glalie without using any items. Perseverance, patience, and picking the right team was all it took, and so it bugs me deeply that the same strategy simply cannot be employed here. The problem is that, within four or five turns, Mega Glalie begins freezing entire columns, two at a time, often locking you out of sweet–and powerful–combo chains, forcing you to chip away at its health until the board resets or you run out of moves. Even with a team of level 6 Pokémon, the farthest I’ve dropped Mega Glalie’s health is down to about 25%.

This level is designed for you to spend money on (either in-game currency, which takes a good while to stock, or through extra turns via Jewels bought by real-life money), unless you hit the biggest luck streak of the century. Truthfully, I was enjoying Pokémon Shuffle, which just celebrated some 2.5 million+ downloads, when it kept progressing, even if just little by little. Play a few matches every night, unlock more to play the next night. Heck, Nintendo is even adding in more levels to the base set, upping the count to 180. That’s sixty more for me to get through…or potentially never see.

I may have to try an item against Mega Glalie. Call it desperation, call it despair, call it giving in–I don’t care. I have a free copy of Disruption Delay in my inventory, acquired from…uh, doing something cool, so maybe I’ll give that a go tonight. However, if the match goes just as poorly as all previous attempts, I will forever be bitter against using items and will refrain from ever experimenting again, deleting this free-to-play Pokémon game and focusing instead on that other free-to-play Pokémon game. That one, so far, hasn’t raised any walls yet to impede my journey.

If you have any good tips on taking down Mega Glalie, please do share. If you beat this level with your eyes closed and one hand behind your back, kudos for you.

Pokémon Rumble World’s toys are free to play with

pokemon rumble world 3DS2-620x

Another month, another free-to-play Pokémon adventure to experience on the Nintendo 3DS. I mostly wrote that leading sentence as those words don’t come together too often and maybe never will again. Yes, it was only two months ago in February that I was scribbling away about Pokémon Shuffle, Nintendo’s stab at the free-to-play match-three genre. Now we’re here in April, the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with a new free-to-play, pocket monster-starring, potential money-maker called Pokémon Rumble World.

Let me do some quick historical research. Evidently, Pokémon Rumble World is the fourth game in the Pokémon Rumble spin-off series, of which I’ve played none of them. In this one, you control your Mii as he or she helps a king with low self-esteem collect various Pokémon to one-up a local magician who has way more colorful critters than him. That’s the general set-up, and its school playground-esque plot is paper-thin, but acceptable. It’s not like the traditional Pokémon games have mind-blowing narratives. The whole point, as always, is to collect a bunch of Pokémon (719 in total) and aim for being a completionist, though you can also earn money to buy new clothes for your Mii. I already got mine a green hoodie, so I might be good for a while.

And here’s how you go about collecting all them toy versions of Pokémon: use a special hot air balloon to travel to themed locations brimming with pocket monsters. New special hot air balloons cost Diamonds, which are this free-to-play’s second currency, but are time-based to use after that initial purchase, meaning you can continue revisiting locations so long as you don’t mind waiting a bit in-between. When you select a specific area, a roulette of several stages spins around, with each stage hosting different–and sometimes rare, indicated by a star–Pokémon. As you collect more, your adventure rank increases and new Pokémon begin to appear in the wild, inspiring revisits.

Once you are in a stage, you take your wind-up toy version of whatever strongest Pokémon in your collection is and destroy everything in your path. You can do two different types of attacks, all of which vary depending on your Pokémon of choice. Personally, I really like using Chespin at the moment. Sometimes the defeated enemies turn into coins, and other times they are knocked down, ready for collecting; to do that, simply run over them. Strangely, simply moving your selected Pokémon warrior near enemies or barrels causes it to auto-attack, which I did not like. If you’ve StreetPassed with anyone, they will appear in the stage, under duress, and if you save them they will reward you with boosts or even a Diamond; in fact, I saved fellow videogaming blogger Matt Mason the other night from a wild gang of Treecko–you’re welcome. After a few levels, you fight a boss Pokémon and then return to town, replenish your wares, and head back out for more. As your rank goes up, the king will have side quests for you too.

By far, my favorite thing about Pokémon Rumble World is that it plays, more or less, with no restrictions. Sure, you have to wait for your hot air balloon to recharge to use again, but I discovered you can just visit a different location via some other hot air balloon while waiting, which leads to never really waiting. In Pokémon Shuffle, once a day, I played my five turns and moved on, but here one can keep playing, exploring, or organizing their growing list of collected toys for as long as their battery life lets them.I do worry, however, that there could be a bit too much menu-ing in this, especially once you have collected a large amount of Pokémon, many of which are seemingly duplicates, but do differ in terms of stats and attacks.

Having passed up on the remakes Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire last year for reasons, Pokémon Rumble World is turning out to be a good replacement for my “catch ’em all” itch, and the free-to-play elements are beyond easy to ignore, which makes this all the more successful. Wind me up, my Mii–I’m ready for more, as well as on the hunt for a Garbodor.