Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Reveal

So, the big Animal Crossing Direct just wrapped up...before anyone gets their hopes up about a New Leaf update for 3DS, or a brand new installment to drop on the Switch (which will consume the life of many fans), Nintendo stuck to their guns and ONLY spoke of their new mobile title.

They even had this swanky disclaimer in the moments before going live with the official presentation:

Yep, zero surprises or allusions to a future console release, just mobile information.

What is the Game Called?

So, let's start with the basics...what is the new game?  It is called Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp...which while it is pretty basic, actually fits quite well in my opinion.

When Can I Play?

The game is slated for release in "Late November" and will drop on both Android and iOS devices.
You can even sign up for notice as to when exactly it will release:

There has been no mention as to if the game will be free-to-play, or cost $9.99 etc.  I am personally inclined to think that it will be free as that allows Nintendo to tap the mobile market for causal players who could eventually convert into fans on the 3DS/Switch side of the equation.

Wait, it is Mobile...Are There Micro-Transactions? Do I hear Tom Nook Laughing?

There is also a very real chance that Tom Nook is reading this and anxiously waiting to take our hard earned cash.  The game doesn't look to have a forced usage of real world currency, but in addition to the Bells we all know and love, they game utilizes Leaf Tickets.  

Leaf Tickets

Leaf Tickets can be earned by doing in-game tasks, but they can also be purchased with your hard earned, real world cash.  Want a pool for your campsite?  You can pay to have it sooner.  Need x Wood and Y Fabric for that dreamy new couch...you could grind it out, or you can pay up to have instant gratification by way of Leaf Tickets.

So, uh...What Do You Do in Pocket Camp?

To put it as simply as possible, imagine a hybrid between New Leaf and Happy Home Designer.  The latest New Leaf update brought in the campers and camp site.  Pocket Camp plays that up and puts you in charge as the Campsite Manager.  What you do and what you have on site will influence which anipals can and will stop by.  I realize not everyone has played Happy Home Designer, but this concept is very similar in practice.

All the charm and customization you know and love from recent installments looks to be in place as well.  You create your character, can change clothes, and much of the furniture looked familiar.  You essentially look to have the task of gathering materials to build the furniture that attracts your favorite villagers.  The auxiliary goal being to customize not only your campsite, but your personal camper.

Pimp My Camper

Something brand new to Pocket Camp is the OK Motors crew.  This trio will trick out your camper, which you can basically see as the equivalent to your home in New Leaf.  You can pick different designs, change colors, and of course...expand with a loft.  The entire progression to this point seems so linear now...almost seems as if Nintendo had this on the agenda 4 years ago and we are just now able to connect the dots...very well played I must say!

Why Do I Need a Camper if I Manage a Campsite?

So your campsite looks to be where your former villager friends will stop by, but you've got to have wheels to get around, man!  Your camper, in addition to being something you can stylize for yourself in your style (as opposed to doing up a campsite for say Curt, Whitney, and Bettina), will be used to hit up other destinations including: an island, a beach, a forest, and a river!

Friendship Points

You know how Stardew Valley gives you a heart level with all the residents of Pelican Town?  Well, previous Animal Crossing games you just kind of new you were "best buds" with other villagers based on how they speak to you, act around you, and what they gift you etc...their letters in the mail kind of helped too.  Well, Pocket Camp has hit what is sure to be a homerun with players by adding Friendship Points.  It works just like you think it would, and I can foresee it being very much at the heart of the addiction.

I Still Want to Know More!

Well, I could talk for hours, but all I know is what is in the special Animal Crossing Direct and on the official website, which I will link for you now: 

I will say that a "Throw Net" and "Honey Pot" have been added.  The Throw Net looks to bring up a lot of fish in one cast and the honey pot allows you to fill a hollow stump to easily catch bugs.  Would have loved both in New Leaf!

My First Impression

I saw a lot of people voicing the same thing in comments and on Twitter..."This looks TOO GOOD to be a mobile game!"  I am right there with them...in fact, I said it before I realized everyone else was thinking the same thing.  This looks every bit as polished as New Leaf, or Happy Home Designer.  The charm, the simplicity, the cuteness (or whatever intangible you would call it) is all there.  It looks more like a well polished, staple release than a mere "mobile game."  

I think most people in this audience are like myself and in addition to being mildly obsessive with Animal Crossing, we also all share a very common sentiment that mobile games just kind of suck.  My experience is they are always overyhyped, fall short of expectations, are buggy, are way too grindy if you don't want to shell out cash a few pennies at a time that eventually amounts to 2-3 times what a $60 release copy would run, and that ultimately get abandoned.  Pocket Camp looks like the complete opposite!

I have to say, my biggest complain is that this isn't on the Switch.  I've said it since we knew what the Switch was..."Animal Crossing is going to be HUGE on the Switch!"  I hope this is a short term filler for a proper follow up to New Leaf.  Heck, I would even play this on the 3DS over a mobile phone if given the choice.  

The bottom line remains...regardless of if this was intended for PC, Switch, 3DS, Wii U, or mobile...it looks REALLY GOOD!  It also looks really fun.  

I wouldn't say I'm cheap, but I am thrifty...I have ZERO plans to shell out for Leaf Tickets.  I would much rather keep my $7 and wait for Cyrus to have 3 days to finish the pool...I mean, that is about 90 days quicker than real life anyway.

Pocket Camp should be a nice medium to pull in more casual fans to the Animal Crossing umbrella, and in my opinion, that camp has a better chance of being retained due to just how low-key of a demand the game has.  You never feel pressure, you feel calm and relaxed when you play.  If millions of people could get addicted to games where you pop bubbles, or wacky rip-offs of Tetris, I have no doubt those same people will get drawn in by the cute and unsuspecting aura that is the vortex of Animal Crossing.

amiibo and Animal Crossing amiibo Card Support

I was personally hoping to see a tie in with the Animal Crossing amiibo Cards.  Who knows, maybe they will save that for a later announcement, or update.  The latest iteration was extremely limited and actually focused on the campers!!  It just makes too much sense to not pair the cards and amiibo with this release.  I responded to Isabelle on Twitter with as much and the response was VERY emphatic that my sentiments were not alone, lol.

I wanted to take the time to write this out...I'll be voicing it pretty much verbatim into a video, but I still prefer old fashioned articles.  The game looks fantastic, too good to be mobile and too good to not be on Switch.  I guess I'll just hold out hope it is only a taste of what is to come with a hopeful Switch release of a follow up to New Leaf!

Let me know your thoughts and I'll hopefully catch you around my campsite and get kudos!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Swtich - First Look!

Warning: Stardew Valley is addictive and can consume your life.
Only proceed if you are looking for a great time!

First Look: Stardew Valley on the Nintndo Switch

Well, it finally happened...my addiction has come full circle.  What seems like forever ago, I was hooked on Animal Crossing New Leaf.  I played daily.  I had to...the flowers, the errands, seasonal bugs & fish, new items to collect, and heaven forbid one of my favorite villagers contemplate moving!

It was a vicious cycle...long hours at work, late dinners, and other inconveniences of adulthood brought forth little free time for a social life, human interaction, or even taking care of yourself and getting adequate rest.  So, how do you unwind?  By doing daily chores and interacting with villagers in Animal Crossing New Leaf!  Doesn't exactly make the most sense on a purely practical level, but what ACNL provided to players was fun.  Just good old fashioned, simple, fun.  You can't play the game wrong, there are no lives, time passes just like in the real world, and somehow...someway, there is a soothing tranquility about it all.  The game's charm, simple, yet complex dynamics, and euphoric relief of stress just add up to a very well crafted game capable of blissfully and efortlessly consuming your time.

I got to a point with Animal Crossing New Leaf where I had pretty much done everything...but I was still playing.  In fact, I am afraid I might still be in the same vicious, but beautiful cycle if it were not for Stardew Valley.

Wait, wait, wait you say.  New Leaf was on a 3DS...Stardew Valley just came out on the Switch, what's the deal?  Paid endorsement?  Oh no, nothing of the sort.  The portability of the 3DS played a huge role in ACNL's ability to seize your life.  On a road trip?  No problem!  Out of town at a hotel?  The 3DS is easy to haul, doesn't require a tv, and certainly didn't need multiple cables knotting up in your luggage.  That layover at the airport...it sucks for most people...but not you!  You can flip open the 3DS and make time fly by!  Speaking of that, ACNL made 2-4 hour fligths seem more like minutes.  But none of this tells you how Stardew Valley broke the addiction to ACNL.

Well, I will tell you.  I bought Stardew Valley when it came out on Steam.  Yes, that Steam...PC Gaming.  Although Stardew Valley draws heavily from Harvest Moon, a series which I shockingly have never played, I paralleled it with New Leaf.  You have a day at your disposal, you can spend it however you like, but there are things that need to be done: tend to the crops, forage, go mining if the stars align...and of course, you have a quirky cast of residents to get to know and develop a relationship with...heck, you can even marry!

I became so absorbed in Stardew Valley, I spent my late nights at home at my desk navigating mouse and keyboard thru the charm that permeates Pelican Town.  All the key elements that made Animal Crossing New Leaf such an enthralling experience were present.  The addition of combat, courting a partner, and having more of a direct tie-in to upgrades quite literally making you more productive and thus profitable, the game pulled me in and hasn't let go.

Stardew Valley (PC) was easily my 2016 game of the year.  Yeah, there were bigger sellers, far more popular games, and plenty of AAA titles from the major studios.  But Stardew Valley is what brought me in and kept me playing (still to this day, in fact!).  The work of one man, Eric Barone, who most of you simply know as ConcernedApe.  He came up with the game, put it together, and made it shine.  The game's publisher, Chucklefish Games, was tasked with getting the smash PC hit out to consoles.

I had always dreamed of a 3DS version...even the Wii U's GamePad would provide an interesting experience.  However, as fate would have it, the Switch came alone...

The Nintendo Switch isn't quite the pocket friendly companion as a good, ol' 3DS, but it is very portable (some people have phones nearing this size and most everyone else was toting around a camera, or tablet of great proportions).  Plus, the Switch is much more powerful than the 3DS.  Handheld....check!  Table Top with Joy-Cons...check!  Docked and projecting to a huge HD TV...check!  One system hits all the marks.  Whether you want to unwind in the comfort of your own bed, lounge in the recliner, or pass some time between classes, or lunch at work...the Switch hits those same sweet spots as the 3DS.

Coupling Stardew Valley with the Nintendo Switch is a no brainer and something I had longed to see come to reality.  The team at Chucklefish made this happen and it is such a treat for Switch Owners!  As is often the case with console gamers, you tend to have the Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox camps.  They are typically very loyal, and I would say the majority likely stick to their favorite console, with a few crossing over to enjoy exclusive to a couple of consoles.  Some smaller percentage also games on the computer.  So what does this mean?  It means that up until earlier this year no one outside of the PC side of the hobby had been fortunate enough to enjoy the Indie masterpiece that is Stardew Valley!

While my first experience (nearing 150 Episodes on my YouTube Channel) sort of set the stage, I can't deny the Switch's advantages.  I love my computer...heck, I even built it with the parts of my own selection.  However, I can't easily lug the case around, let alone a monitor AND peripherals!  The Switch travels effortlessly.  And although I'm sure folks do use a wireless keyboard and mouse from bed, I don't.  The Switch can give me the same gameplay ability as the 3DS!

The bottom line is that although it came last, the Nintendo Switch version of Stardew Valley holds the portability and ease of access titles that no PC, or console (regardless of their prowess) can match!  That portability coupled with the same charming gameplay we came to know and love in Stardew Valley on the PC makes for one hard hitting combination!

Although I am partial to the keyboard and mouse (you know, after using them for hundreds of hours of gameplay on the computer), the Switch version plays beautifully in its' own right.  Those new to the series will simply learn the controls as they come...for someone switching from PC it'll be the same learning curve, just with the additional knowledge of any differences.

The game boasts the same features as all other installments and I can tell you right now...Stardew Valley and the Nintendo Switch makes for a gorgeous package!

If you are a Switch owner you owe it to yourself to pick this game up...you will NOT regret it!  The game is so peaceful, such a change of pace, and so enjoyable the only thing you are at risk of is developing a small addiction...and as gamers, there isn't more of a stamp of approval.

Stardew Valley was sent out by Chucklefish Games and I sincerely thank them for the review copy!  However, in order to be 100% transparent, this was a must purchase and had been on my radar since my first hours with the game on PC.  I've had an awful lot of viewers eagerly waiting for the Nintendo release of Stardew Valley and as of Thursday, October 5th the wait is over!

I fully back this game and give it the coveted 1ofWiisdom Seal of Approval!  If you happen to be an Xbox, or PlayStation gamer, I highly recommend you pick the game up as well.  Although you will be missing out on the portability the Switch offers, it is an incredible gameplay experience that is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Well, I've got to run...the plants aren't going to water themselves (yet!).

Currently Playing

  • Skylanders Imaginators
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • Minelogix-Minecraft PC
  • Stardew Valley - PC
  • Wii Fit U (Wii U)
  • Animal Crossing amiibo Festival (Wii U)
  • Yoshi's Wooly World
  • Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DS

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