Tag Archives: monsters

Haven Review: Pokemon Gold and Silver

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Greetings trawler and welcome to the magical word of Pokemon, a place of untold mystery filled to the brim with mighty beasts, fluffy critters, a bucket load of weird things and a fair share of Eldrtich abominations wanting to feast on your soul. In this lovely pastel-colored world, children as young as ten are sent out to become a Pokemon trainer; someone who can wield the mighty powers each Pokemon contains. However I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s mostly children who did badly on their aptitude tests that have to travel across the land. This might also explain why fishermen with only “Magicarps” are in the party. In other words, these poor uneducated buggers throw fish at you…weak aquatic creatures that flop around on the ground.

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A move that involves only flopping and Splashing around in front of the opponent. It has no effect. Image found on Google.

As Pokemom participate in vicious fights against other monsters, they will eventually become stronger and “evolve” into a bigger and much more vicious version, though the process should be called a metamorphosis. After all I was taught that evolution was something that happened over a very long time through generations. But I’ll crack that up the likelihood that the local scientist in town could quite possibly be bonkers with no formal education. So I’ll stick to the term “evolution”.

The most common way to proceed through the game is via combat, though some rare exceptions occur. Either through elemental rocks or when night sets, some evolve through trading with other trainers, and a selective few by holding an item while being traded. These also seem to grow strong faster, as well. A new trend that recently occurred a well, is the ability to breed Pokemon by putting two of the same gender at the ever-friendly Caretaker’s place. Eventually they lay an egg that will hatch into baby, and if its nature is right will get a little stronger than the rest, by fighting certain Pokemon. Rumor has it that a Pokemon with different color might just appear…and it’s ultra rare! On my journey I got some new tools, as well. This includes a snazzy phone with a map function, though I’m not sure why these deadbeat trainers I fought on the way want to have my number. It’s not like the eventual rematch will be any less one-sided.

Fact of Pokemon life.
Fact of Pokemon life.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for several decades or in The Congo, you have probably heard of or seen a Pokemon product. Whether this is a good thing or not is for you to decide. My first encounter was the pesky Trading Card Game (TCG), which almost no one played (yet everyone and their mother had a card or ten). I was clearly a target demographic when Nintendo launched its nefarious plot to make money off funky critters that fought each other in an arena…essentially a combination of cock fighting and match of rock-paper-scissors.

The old and the new version.
The old and the new version.

The first in the series I actually played through was Pokemon Gold, the sequel to Red and Blue, which added more of everything; new monsters, new locations and a lot of post-game content. The formula mostly follows the idea of fighting eight gym leaders, then challenge the elite four and lastly the champion. As part of the post-game content, there were eight more gym leaders to beat and to have a climatic battle against. Red was the champion from the previous game.

Slightly upgraded graphics.
Slightly upgraded graphics.

Eventually Gold and Silver got a remake named Soul Silver and Hearth Gold, which included a lot of the new elements introduced in later games. This includes Pokemon that need a certain level of happiness to evolve. Aside from better graphics and the addition of some mechanics the game includes a pedometer, a device that counts the number of steps the user has taken during a walk. It is also possible to transfer a Pokemon into the device to level it up while walking, and trade a random item with another person who also has such a device.

The main series is formulaic as all hell and is an example of how to make a highly addictive, turn-based role playing game correctly.

Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

While you’re at it, check out this Pokemon fancomic.
http://pokeventuras.smackjeeves.com/

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas

I am the son of a famous and brave explorer. However, my father was taken by a creature known as Oceanhorn; a mechanical monstrosity that makes a terrible haunting sound whenever it emerges from the murky depths. It’s now my destiny to take up the sword and find out why the monster took my father. Anyone who stands in my way, be it monster or man, will fall by my hand like a leaf on the wind.

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The hero is on time

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a cutesy and fun game about exploring islands, getting new gear and discovering new places to explore. This game clearly carries its inspiration on its sleeve and makes me wonder why there aren’t more of these for PC. The hero starts out with a sharp pointy stick that eventually gets replaced with a sword and shield. Later he’ll get bombs and a bow. If this sounds familiar to a certain fellow in a green tunic, then read no further. (There is no Link to be found in this game). If not, then carry on reading.

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Adorable graphics

Each island holds a clue to where another island is located. Each place has a lot of treasure hidden in clever places, such as behind walls that can be blown up with bombs.  The journey between islands is on a sailing ship, complete with a trusty peanut shooter to fight enemies and clear debris; the latter containing money and ammo when destroyed. When I eventually found an island, there were usually some talkative natives and foul beasts about, which quite often led to a muddy dungeon. Dungeons are full of monsters, insidious traps and terrible block puzzles which eventually lead to a boss room.

Combat is an easy and smooth affair, since it’s based around using tools, blocking attacks and running around a lot. When I died (which happens every now and then), I re-spawn at the dungeon entrance. If there is anything to complain about, then it has to be the tad wonky physics of movable objects. As the enemies keep dying and island-specific challenges get done, the hero gains experience that will give him more items and ammo capacity. These perks are lost upon death.

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Big bosses to battle!

Water is bright blue, clouds are white and one island is flying!? In other words, the art direction is beautiful, simple and very vibrant, with exaggerated character designs and a cartoonish style. All this is complemented by a lovely soundtrack and fitting non-intrusive sound effects. Kudos for excluding an annoying beeping sound when the player is at death’s door. Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is clearly a game that most people will enjoy, until they get stuck in a puzzle they can’t solve. I know this because it happened to me! The game is available on Steam, as well as for iOS.

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Steam store page.
store.steampowered.com/app/339200
D
evelopment blog
http://oceanhorn.blogspot.no/

Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Njål Sand-

Haven Review: Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure

guruminlogoFirst 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.

Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure first released on PSP and made its way to Steam. It’s developed by Nihon Falcom Corporation and published by MastiffGuruDanIn it you play as a girl named Parin who moves to a new town filled with nothing but doddering old people and no kids. One of the geriatrics actually tries taking Parin out on a date and keeps insisting on taking her out again later. This winds up being the best way to show gamers what consent means!

Well things soon kick off and you save a screaming little girl who’s terrified of a dog, only to find out that it’s a monster that adults can’t see. You soon become friends with the monster and thus your Monsters Adventure begins, get it? Because, Monsters. After an amazing opening sequence you find yourself in Monster Village and learn that the little girl’s monster friend has been kidnapped. You run off to save him but before you do, you’re given a legendary weapon that was once used to save Monster Village; it just happens to be a drill.

gurumin-a-monstrous-adventure_016As you head off, you’re pointed in the direction of other helpful monsters, which starts the first dungeon. In it you’re taught everything about the game from how to charge your attacks to how to do special moves and level up your weapons. The game is very precise in its tutorial, as it teaches and helps you along so you can learn everything and not be at any disadvantage. However, like a lot of tutorials it does tend to drag out and is a bit tedious to learn. For example, it only focuses on the keyboard; not the controller.

Now outside of that, I must say the game is really put together well with a unique voice cast. It features one of my favorite Tara Strong voice-overs. The controls also are very fluid so it’s hard to make mistakes in combat (unless you press the wrong key). But all this just begins to shine even more when the visuals make things come together in a fun and entertaining game that had me mesmerized.

Despite all this, the plot feels a bit too childish at times, although it makes complete sense given the visuals and aspects of the game. If they went too serious it would lose a lot of its charm, and that’s what makes the game interesting and fun to play. gurumin_fsaag4a5bThe game reminds me a lot in visuals of Mega Man Legends, except there’s lot more added into the detail department. This creates a unique visual that’s enjoyable and pleasing to the eye. With the added musical score, it just feels complete.

The game itself is probably one of the better titles I’ve played, and is definitely on my list of favorites. Be sure to check out the game if you get a chance; I know you won’t regret it. The only real bug I encountered was during the naming of my character. That really was the only annoying thing.

If you want to know what the game looks like, you can check out our video at the end of this review!

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Gurumin