Tag Archives: Blue

Haven Review: Pokemon Snap

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Oh snap! It’s Pokemon Snap!

Professor Oak did SCIENCE! Through being a scientist in Pokemon Snap, he made a floating self-propelled observation platform and a portal. After creating these marvelous artifacts, he hired a photographer named Tracy to utilize them, in order to take stunning wildlife pictures. Capturing nature’s unrivaled beauty through a camera lens, from dark caves to rapid rivers and space, is the name of the game.

The face of SCIENCE! Research and poetry

Pokemon is weird and there are very few inherently bad or broken games. Pokemon Snap is one of those spin-off games that was launched on Nintendo 64 and was later put on sale through the Wii Store. The game is a unique take on the idea of a “rail shooter”. Instead of pointing a gun, the player points a camera and the goal is to take pictures of every Pokemon and maximize the score. There are several tools to achieve this, such as an infinite apples, pester balls and a “pokeflute”. Apples distract monsters, while the pester ball aggravates them, causing various effects to occur. The flute wakes up those that are sleeping. The scoring system is based on various factors, such as whether the creature is in the center of the picture, or whether there are multiple Pokemon captured in the photo. There’s even a bonus if the creature is striking a pose or doing something fancy.

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Our protagonist for this game, he has not aged well.

After the track is complete, Professor Oak will rate the pictures and a score will be set, perhaps resulting in new “unlocks”. Pokemon Snap starts out with one track, but more become available by interacting with the environment at specific points. I’m not entirely sure if there is music in the game; I can’t remember any other track than that damn ear worm of a menu theme. That and Professor Oak’s creepy upbeat, very exited voice. A great deal of the first generation Pokemon does show up, but not all 150 creatures. However they did include Mew as the last “boss”.

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The most advanced picture platform in the world!

There is not that much to say about the game play, other than that it provides a fresh and innovative take on the world fans know and love. Pokemon Snap is very a very calm game with a very relaxed atmosphere, despite being surrounded by vicious beasts that can tear a man limb from limb, or turn him into a frozen meat Popsicle. It’s a highly recommended title for any fan who wants to see a different take on the world of Pokemon without having to grind for hours and fight every deluded trainer on the way. It can be bought on the virtual Nintendo store, but keep in mind, this game has not aged well.

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Point and click!

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Virtual Rogue

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Virtual Rogue is an isometric “rogue like” dungeon crawler. It uses a twin stick shooting mechanic similar to other titles in this vein of game. Virtual Rogue places you in a large room filled with enemies and instructs you to find the exit. Killing all the enemies in the room will get you some stuff, or you can leave whenever you want. I say “stuff” because I never figured out what anything I picked up did. It was all just crap and tat to give you some sense of accomplishment.VirtualRogue 2016-04-29 15-36-05-40

Everything you pick up in Virtual Rogue looks the same. It’s got this computer theme to it, so all the pickups look like desktop icons or computer chips. Nothing is clearly defined as anything. I couldn’t tell the difference between money, item drops, or health. It was all just a vague blend of sprites. Ugh. The sad thing is, this game probably prides itself on me calling all its shit as sprites. “See that’s the joke. It’s a computer game based off computers, therefore it’s funny that they’re sprites!” says the game. Except it’s not funny or clever. It’s just kinda annoying. Gold is gold for a reason. It’s easy to recognize as currency. If you are going to deviate from that, make sure it’s clear you are doing it, and that your currency stands out from everything else. The rest of the graphics aren’t any better. The room just looks like green computer circuit boards, and the enemies are more poorly drawn computer parts. There’s nothing interesting to it.VirtualRogue 2016-04-29 15-39-35-39

The game feels like it has this “good enough” mentality and never really takes anything to an interesting or clever level. Everything about the game feels that way, not just the graphics. The mechanics are slow and tired. Enemies attack much faster than you, so strategy boils down to running out in front of an enemy, shooting once, hope you hit and then running back behind cover as a stream of bullets almost hit you. That or back pedal and shoot as an enemy rushes at you. You never have to react to new enemies, you always just do the same thing again and again for pretty much everything. VirtualRogue 2016-04-29 15-37-35-39Your own bullets are so incredibly slow that you have to commit to shooting something. Since it’s based off of what direction you hit on the right stick of a controller or the direction pad on the keyboard, it’s possible for your slow-ass bullet to barely miss an enemy because you didn’t angle it right. There is about a one-second delay between each bullet, so every miss is just frustrating.

There’s nothing more to say about this game really. It’s an average, uninspired, half-assed creation whose entire sense of humor is based solely on referencing memes. There’s nothing clever, creative or technical to make this game stand out. At best it feels like a good attempt at someone’s high-school gaming project.

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Disclaimer: We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.
-Jordan Kamm-

Haven Review: Sonic Lost World

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

I love Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s one of my favorite game characters and he had a huge impact on my childhood. I remember sitting around the Sega Genesis and running through each stage to stop Eggman, and also the cheats to unlock Super Sonic early on!

Sonic the Hedgehog has come a long way since then, and the launch of Sonic Adventure brought him into the 3D era and was amazing. The open world, game-play and unique cast of characters was great, and Sega has since been trying to become more and more innovative with this universe they’ve built. This includes, but is not limited to Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations.2015-11-24_00009 The newest iteration of the Sonic franchise is Sonic Lost World. Now I have played the newer games, and I must tell you they feel a lot better than this. It seems like Sega can never stick to their initial good formula; they keep trying to go back to their roots but also remain innovative.

The level designs are horrible…a good try at best…but still fail to be entertaining. They feel like they are struggling to make Sonic the Hedgehog more of an item-based hero like Mario with the introduction of an inventory system. It’s like someone tried to take an mobile app game and threw it together with Sonic the Hedgehog, much like Sonic Dash. Upon completion of various challenges, you are rewarded with in-game items, which you can draw from inventory during the stages you play.2015-11-24_00010

Another issue I had when playing this game is that it’s trying to throw together pieces from aforementioned Sonic titles. You can go around during stages and collect various little critters to help boost you through the stages. That is all well and good, but it’s starting the feel like they’re choking the franchise, straggling their mascot and shouting “This is what you have to do, so do it!” in hopes of being innovative.

However I think the biggest issue with this installment is how they changed everything control-wise. If you have played Sonic Adventure, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations you know how the controls are. They’re set a certain way and haven’t been changed in years; a good thing. However this has literally made me spend a good fifteen to twenty minutes just trying to figure out how to control my Blue Hedgehog. Hell, even trying to spin-dash is a pain now. Normally you’d just press “B”, but now on a controller its the Left Trigger (LT). Right Trigger (RT) just makes you run like your old-school Genesis Sonic..2015-11-24_00013

Despite these numerous issues, I can say this: the music as always is spot-on and I love the sound track and the character interactions and development. This title introduces the “Dangerous Six.” and besides falling in love with their design, they make for some very hilarious cut-scenes. It’s good to know that Sega, despite failing in the design aspect of the game, is still is succeeding in their story telling and musical composition. Is it enough to make up for all the game’s faults and issues? Not really. The only consolation is that it gives you a beautiful, vibrant world to look at; something we all love and really enjoy in Sonic titles.

The best way to explain it is to look at Sonic Adventure, the gem of the franchise. It had open-world game play where you could run around and interact with various stages that were easy to figure out and learn. Even my mother got into playing Sonic Adventure…that’s how good it was. Yes, a lot of the stages were closed and small, and in comparison to Sonic Lost World some areas are a bit like that, as well. But ultimately it boils down to the control aspect.2015-11-25_00017

You have things from Sonic Colors here; they’re trying to throw out a new set of villains and enemies. You are also building on classic Sonic lore with a lot of the stages, and you are also trying to build up with previous characters. It’s all well and good but somewhere in there it’s starting to fall apart with too much going on.

If I had to choose the things that were wrong with the title, it would be the following: inventory options, adding various games to a new Sonic title, level design and the controls.
The best thing about Sonic games in the past is how they always made Sonic a side-scrolling character. In some stages, yes, it would change camera angles from behind, but it always felt fluid and complete. This newest game doesn’t have that. All-in-all I’ve only been enjoying the character interactions and story. The game play for me just feels forced and it fails. I don’t find it enjoyable at all.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

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