Returning to Celeste

Celeste’s DLC, the Farewell chapter, just released, so I decided to pick up the game again, which I hadn’t played since January.

I couldn’t play the DLC yet, as I never played through Chapter 8: The Core. I got stuck at the beginning, not realizing I needed 4 crystal hearts from previous levels to progress, and then my school semester started and I never got around to playing it.

Luckily, I was able to pick it right back up. I’m not really into masocore games. I had played through the game, not doing much in the way of extra stuff (strawberries, b-sides, c-sides), because it was hard enough for me anyway. So I was a little nervous about going back to get crystal hearts so I could play through the core.

I went back to the first few chapters, which I assumed would make things easier, and I was pleasantly surprised at the use of game mechanics for acquiring some of the hearts. Dashing back and forth between screens to “climb” up thin air? Neat. Being able to interact with the background elements of a scene? I love it.

I only went back and got enough hearts to progress through the Core, so I’m looking forward to going back and getting more.

The Core was HARD. There were several screens I spent at least an hour on. But like the rest of the chapters, it always felt extremely rewarding when I got through a tough spot. At first, it was tough to get used to not having a dash recharge. But it added an interesting new dimension to this chapter, with deciding when to use your dashes.

I love the way the level switches back and forth between fire and ice, even if things got a little intense when the lava/ice water was rising through several screens.

The one thing I missed on this chapter was story. The story was so strong throughout the game, and it was a little light in the Core. However, it does seem like more of a challenge chapter, and from the little I’ve played of the Farewell chapter, it seems like it picks things back up in the story department.

I wanted to write more about the Farewell chapter this week, but I also didn’t want to rush through it (although I don’t know if that’s possible, it seems even more difficult than the Core so far), so I’ll leave that for another post. I will say, without getting spoiler-y, that it deals with death and grief, so I’m interested to see where that goes. Yomawari, the game I took a break from to play Celeste, also deals with death and grief, so I guess I’ve got a theme going here – even if they have very different takes. Also, from what I’ve heard so far, the new soundtrack is stellar – Lena Raine is amazing as usual.

Bonus: I’ve been working on a logo for my site – I think I’m gonna use the second one, because I’m not even sure if I can use the first.

Happy gaming!

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Music Monday: Sinnoh Songs

Gen 4 might just have my favorite pokémon soundtrack. A lot of the music has this calm, jazzy feel that I regret not listening to while studying while I was in school. Most of the songs I’ve picked today could go on a nice, calming playlist – though definitely not the second one.

Lake

I love those runs that go on throughout the song. I could see myself listening to this while sitting by a lake in real life – I love when that happens. Same thing happens with the Great Fairy Fountain theme from Zelda – I highly recommend sitting by a fountain and playing it on your headphones (with the volume low enough that you can also hear the running water).

Deep Within the Hideout

So atmospheric! Ugh it sounds so good – like you’re actually in danger while in the hideout. I love that pulsing bass, which always does a good job of making things sound threatening and scary – they did the same thing in Game of Thrones for the Battle of Winterfell episode (although much more briefly) towards the beginning and it sets the tone so well. And the lab sound effects are perfect.

Eterna Forest

This one gives almost a mysterious vibe. It’s also super swing-y and sticks with Gen 4’s jazzy theme.

Snowpoint City

It sounds just like snow. It’s so pretty and peaceful, which fits well with the quietness of the town.

Route 209

I think this is a pretty popular route theme music. It’s nice and adventurous and has such a full sound to it.

Canalave City

This one for some reason reminded me of Vermillion City and Olivine City and I wasn’t sure why – then I realized they’re all port cities! They also all made it to my Music Monday lists (Lilycove and Slateport almost made it last week, which is interesting because those are the ones I don’t find similar to the other port cities). I think I just really like they music the pokémon series uses around bodies of water – I’ve started and ended this post with them.

This list could’ve kept going, but I had to end it at some point. So many themes could’ve gone on here. And listening to the soundtrack has made me yearn for Gen 4 remakes (2020 maybe?). I think we’re overdue for them. Anything missing from this list you would have put on here?

60 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Animal Crossing Diaries #9

Once again, I’ve successfully caught all the bugs and fish made available so far this month. The king salmon was a challenge, but I finally got it. Just a couple more days until I can get the mitten crab, sweet shrimp, and spiny lobster.

Redd has been a pain in the butt the past several visits. He keeps bringing the wild painting (which I need), but it’s always the fake one! Come on man, help me out here.

The sweet olives have started budding…only a couple more days until they bloom.

I’ve mostly been working on my gardening. I’m enjoying trying out different flower and color combinations. Here are the new ones I’ve got in my town.

I really like that pink/yellow combo, so I’ve done it again!
Blue/pink is my favorite color combo
Again with the warm and cool colors
I love the way the yellow pops next to the blue
Wanted to do an all white garden – probably will do the same with black flowers

I’ve got more gardens in the works, and I’ll probably show them off in my next Animal Crossing Diary, along with my autumnal Pocket Camp setup.

189 days until New Horizons!

Pokémon Masters: For Beginners and Long-time Fans Alike

When Pokémon Masters was first announced, I thought it would be more for long-time, possibly more competitive fans of the pokémon series. It’s main feature is the ability to battle alongside gym leaders and champions from all the pokémon games in the Pokémon Masters League (PML). But the app makes it easy for newcomers to get right into battling, and you don’t have to have an advanced understanding of battle mechanics to continue.

The 3v3 battle style is new to the series and is unique in that it is not a turn-based system. Rather, you have a recharge meter for attacks that occur in real time. And, instead of each pokémon type having multiple type weaknesses and immunities, each pokémon only has one move type and one type weakness. Ponyta, for example, is a fire type and is only weak to rock type moves. You fight with 3 sync pairs, which consist of one trainer and one pokémon.

You have regular moves, a sync move, and passive moves (which are like pokémon abilities). The regular movies are the rechargeable ones, and each time you use one, a countdown goes down so that you can use a powerful sync move (think Z moves). Each trainer also has a specific item they can use which also contributes to the sync move countdown.

Pasio, the region the game takes place on, feels like a vacation island. The graphics are vibrant and colorful. You get a poryphone (porygon phone – guesss we’re giving rotom a much deserved break) that displays your missions, bag, dex, and friends. There is an evil team in the form of Team Break (the masked fellows featured below), but I haven’t played enough to really figure them out yet. I will say that they have a really cool logo – it’s a sideways mask that looks like the letter ‘B’.

Pretty sure someone on the development team is a Sailor Moon fan.

If you’re looking for a fun new way of battling, this game is great! It’s not very strong on the story side, but it is cool to get to interact with gym leaders, elite four members, champions, and other famous pokémon trainers. It’s a nice game to play while we wait for Pokémon Sword and Shield, which comes out in 66 days!

Music Monday: Hoenn Edition

Ah, Gen 3, my favorite pokémon generation. Ask someone about Hoenn’s music and you’re guaranteed to get some remarks on the heavy use of trumpets. Ask me and you’ll get the same, but also an acknowledgment of the gorgeous flute that makes up many of the peaceful melodies in this watery region.

I love the music in Ruby/Sapphire, and I really could just put the whole soundtrack here. I somehow managed to select just a few.

Verdanturf Town

I used to go to this town just to listen to the music. I would go stand by the flowers and then let the music play. ‘Nuff said.

Fortree City

I added this one, then took it off, then re-added it after I listened to the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire version. I think I added it at first just because I love the city, rather than because I love the music. But they made it laid back in the remakes in a way that pairs perfectly with the treehouse style of living. I’m really into music that fits the atmosphere, which brings me to my next pick.

Mount Pyre

Holy crap, is this atmospheric. It’s creepy and unsettling in a way that’s different from Lavender Town’s theme. The music makes it feel like it’s not only home to ghosts and the dead, but also to something ancient and powerful that could break free at any moment.

Route 104

This is the music that comes to mind when I think of route themes in Hoenn. It’s got the trumpets right there in the beginning, loud and aggressive. It’s almost like Hoenn’s defining piece of music.

Sootopolis City

I love all the unique cities and towns in Hoenn, and Sootopolis’s theme is pretty and relaxing after the stress of the drought or heavy rainfall music (drought music gets an honorable mention). You have to dive (dive music also gets an honorable mention) or fly to get here, and then you’re rewarded with beautiful flute and trumpet melodies.

This was my longest Music Monday list yet (my last two only had three songs) and it was a struggle to keep it down to just 5. The whole soundtrack is great, and I hope you’ll take some time to enjoy it. I look forward to picking out songs from Sinnoh next week!

67 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Music Monday – Pokémon Gen 2

I already brought up the nostalgia factor for early pokémon music last week, but somehow, Gen 2 is more nostalgic for me, despite the fact that I didn’t play through Johto until Heart Gold (although I very briefly borrowed crystal from my cousin).

It’s like the music was created to be nostalgic, which is not too surprising for the first tune.

Violet City/Olivine City

“The City of Nostalgic Scents” – Violet City’s slogan. Okay, maybe the music was created to be nostalgic. I have been humming this one all week. I hadn’t listened to it for years, but it just came right back to me.

Ecruteak City/Cianwood City

I might love this theme so much because I love Ecruteak City. It’s a beautiful city, especially in HeartGold and SoulSilver where the trees on Bellchime trail get an autumnal update. It receives a nice update in the remakes, with some Japanese koto in the intro.

Azalea Town/Blackthorn City

This one is not only one of my favorites from Gen 2, but one from the entire pokémon series. There’s something about that chiptune that’s so sweet-sounding, like everything is good in the world. I listened to it a lot while writing papers during my last semester of school.

Writing this post has made me long for pokémon let’s go johto games. I think a lot of people would rather see Gen 4 remakes first – I think I would as well, but we can hope for both! 74 days until Pokémon Sword and Shield!

Animal Crossing Diaries #8

It’s September and that means fall and new things to catch in Animal Crossing! I can now catch salmon, king salmon, and pike. I have to wait until the 15th to catch mitten crab, sweet shrimp and spiny lobster.

Not much has happened in the last month of playing New Leaf, but I decided to start working on more simple little gardens.

I love how simple and pretty they are – I need to decide on more color and flower combinations. I’m thinking blue roses with a different type of yellow flower would be nice. Maybe the pansies as they’re nice and bright. If anyone has any suggestions, I’ll make a little garden and show it on here.

Pocket Camp has some fun autumn furniture I’m looking forward to placing around my camp. I’m especially looking forward to that autumn maple tree. I’ll post some pics of my revamped camp in my next Animal Crossing diary.

I’d love it if they did a fall gardening event with mums – red, orange, and purple would be awesome! However, I imagine October’s gardening event will be a spooky themed one. Maybe next year! Alternatively, I’d love a gardening event in which we got to grow pumpkins!

That’s all for this little update, 201 days until New Horizons! About to break that 200 mark!

Music Mondays

For the past week I’ve been going through Unity game development tutorials in hopes of being able to create my own game. I’d also like to able able to create my own art and music for this game (I’ve got a lot of learning ahead of me).

So I’ve been trying to listen to lots of video game music, and as an exercise for me, I’ve decided to start a Music Monday series here where I post some of my favorites. They will probably be grouped by game, series, or genre, and I’m going to start with the Pokémon series – this week, my favorite Gen 1 music!

Pokémon Yellow was my first game, and is fresh in my mind from Pokémon Let’s Go. That being said, I didn’t need the refresher to pick out my favorites – they came to mind immediately.

Viridian Forest

Viridian Forest was the first real challenge you faced as a trainer in Kanto, and this theme gives it a perfect mysterious and threatening feeling. It’s a big maze-y forest filled with pokémon trainers and bugs, so something could pop out at you at any second, and this theme nails that feeling.

Vermillion City

This city’s theme brings out my nostalgia more than any other Gen 1 music. It’s more epic than any other city’s theme, making you feel like you’re starting an adventure – fitting for a seaport city. Makes me wanna watch the sunset off into the sea.

Lavender Town

Ahh the source of the famous pokémon creepypasta. It’s sad and creepy and unsettling. I have a soft spot for creepy/horror elements in otherwise non-creepy/horror games (blog topic for October/Halloween?). And this song really hits that soft spot.

That’s it for this week – next week Gen 2! I should have more happy-sounding music for that list.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and Breath of the Wild

I picked up Red Dead Redemption 2 a couple months ago, but have only really just started playing it this past week, as I’ve had some free time.

Post Breath of the Wild, I really wanted to play more open world games so I picked up Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2. And at E3, when Zelda director Aonuma cited Red Dead Redemption 2 as an inspiration for the Breath of the Wild sequel, I knew I had to start playing it.

The games share many features (hunting, horse riding, compendiums, weather, cooking, crafting, and more), but there’s also plenty that keeps them distinct. I’m loving Red Dead Redemption 2 so far, although I prefer Breath of the Wild (I usually enjoy puzzles more than combat), and there are some features in Rdr2 I’d love to see in Botw2.

The main way Rdr2 beats Botw is in its story. Botw’s memories provided some depth, but most of the story takes place in the past and not in real time like Rdr2’s does. And sure, it was cool that you had the option to go fight Ganon immediately, but in a game like Botw where so much of the enjoyment comes from exploration, I would much rather take the long scenic route than speed through it.

Rdr2 manages to implement a story while keeping the game from feeling too linear. It maintains its open world. Botw2 could definitely take a hint from this with something like Rdr2’s chapters. Botw almost seemed like it was going to do this starting with the initial trips to Kakariko and Hateno Village, but then it stopped. Botw2 could still have memories, but I don’t want it as the main storytelling medium.

Rdr2 is the first game I’ve played that’s not a horse game where you really have to take care of your horse. I’ve wanted something like this for ages. While I don’t necessarily see this making its way to Botw2, it might be neat. You can feed your horse in Botw, but it doesn’t have any effect other than a friendship raise. It would be great to see more interaction with your horses in Zelda, but they aren’t as integral to the game as in Rdr2, so I don’t actually see this being implemented.

In Botw, you’re pretty much on your own for most of the game. But in Rdr2, you have a whole gang of outlaws who you frequently go on missions with. From Botw2’s trailer, it seems like Zelda will be a companion for at least some portion of the game, so it looks like there’s a decent possibility of companion missions. It would be cool to see more of Riju, Sidon, Teba, and Yunobo – I don’t think there was enough interaction with them in Botw. They each had sort of a divine beast mission, but I really want to get to know them more, even with optional missions.

Somewhere I don’t want to see Botw2 taking from Rdr2? Fishing. I love the concept of fishing in games, but there are very few games with fishing mechanics I enjoy (I like Animal Crossing’s – nice and simple). Botw makes fishing as simple as it gets – just grab a fish in the water. I hope it keeps it that way.

I look forward to seeing more news on Botw2, although I don’t see that happening for awhile – maybe not until next year’s E3. So in the meantime, 28 days until Link’s Awakening!

From the Creators of Wandersong and Celeste comes Chicory: A Colorful Tale

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on a few indie games I’m looking forward to. Had this game been announced at that time, it certainly would have been included in that post.

Announced two days ago, August 15th, the game has already reached 100% funding on kickstarter – here’s a link if you’re interested in checking it out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greglobanov/chicory-a-colorful-tale/description

I’ve been following Lena Raine, the composer of Celeste’s soundtrack and now the composer of Chicory’s soundtrack, on Twitter, which is how I found out about this game.

In Chicory you play as a dog that uses a magic paintbrush to draw, solve puzzles, and otherwise interact with the world. You need the paintbrush to restore color to a black and white, color-sapped world.

I love the whole concept of restoring color to the world – I actually had a similar video game concept in mind involving color restoration, but implemented differently. I’m seriously considering learning video gaming development so I could actually carry that out…

This game looks so cute and artsy, and I’ve already added it to my game wishlist. I hope (as for many other games) that it comes to the switch. The creators seem very interested in bringing Chicory to consoles so I think it’s highly likely.

Some streamers have been given demos of the game, so head on over to YouTube or Twitch if you wanna check out any gameplay!

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