Pocket Players Podcast #62: PAX East Indies 2014


Adell has the night off as I’m freshly home from PAX East with a slew of indie developer interviews to share.

INTERVIEWS:

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Bravely Social: The StreetPass Experience of Bravely Default

Bravely Default is innovative and familiar all at once. At its core, it is a traditional turn-based JRPG. Seeing as those are usually one-player affairs, I didn’t think other players would have such a strong impact on my experience with it. But Bravely Default turned out to have the most extensive and well implemented StreetPass functionality of any 3DS game I’ve played to date.

Half of the StreetPass features have to do with the ruined village of Norende: hometown of Tiz, the main protagonist, before it was swallowed up by a giant chasm. But Tiz has taken on the task of returning Norende to its former glory.

NorendeFor this optional side quest, you can access the village at any time from the menu screen and assign residents to work on building or upgrading the village shops. As new items are made available in the shops, you can purchase them for yourself.

All the projects take real time to complete (up to 99 hours), but the more villagers you assign to a task, the shorter it takes. Norende’s population goes up by one with each other Bravely Defauly player you StreetPass.

Despite all this being optional, the weapons and armor you get from Norende’s shops are some of the best in the game. There are even shops that specialize in items to customize and power-up your party’s special moves; in fact, they’re the only way you can do so. This helped me out a lot, especially when going up against a tough boss with a specific weakness.

One thing that disappointed me about Norende is how detached the whole experience was. You literally interact with it at a distance where the villagers look like bugs. I was helping rebuild Tiz’s home, but I never got to actually go there. One of my favorite parts of Bravely Default was the cool, really creative towns. I would have loved to actually visit Norende, and watch the population and buildings grow as I talked to the citizens personally – like the growth of Black City in Pokemon Black and White.

All the towns in this game had the appearance of being hand drawn, so it might have been more difficult to render Norende in various stages of progression than it was to paste in a few more identical skyscrapers in Black City. That said, I wanted to be emotionally attached to this town, but the game just wouldn’t let me.

The other aspect of Norende is the Nemesis battles. These are intriguing bosses that terrorize your village until you defeat them. Some appear randomly, but you can also StreetPass a Nemesis to other players like a virus. They provide extra tricky challenges for players, beyond what you normally fight in the main story.

One Nemesis I fought seemed to absorb all types of attacks, magical and physical. WhenBelphegor I examined it and found out it had a fire weakness, I thought I had him beat. After ordering four consecutive Firagas, I took pride in seeing the first deal massive damage. But my feeling was devastated after seeing the next three spells restore his health. After a few frustrating experiments, I learned that every time the boss took damage, its weakness changed. There aren’t many RPGs where I can call optional mini-bosses memorable. But there were a few Nemesis battles like this one that really impressed me with the thought that was put in. Definitely a great feature.

In addition to the extra strategy needed to defeat Nemeses, some of them are just brutally strong. This is where you go for a challenge after beating the game. They’re no joke.

There are two other StreetPass functions completely separate from the village: Friend Summons and Abililink.

During battle, whenever you do any attack, you have the option to “Send” it. This doesn’t change your attack at all, but it records the character, the attack, and the damage in your StreetPass data. Then, whoever StreetPasses you can “Summon” your character in their adventure to do that same attack or healing spell.

These have saved my life a few times, like when my White Mage was my last character standing, but with no MP. Luckily I had a Friend Summon I’d been saving that could deal 9999 damage, which finished off my foe.

I still have a few powerful attacks saved up in case I’m stuck like that again, but in actuality I am rarely in a situation as dire as that. They kind of came off as a novelty that really wasn’t useful at all after a certain point of the game. So I could have done without them.

The last thing is Abililink. This is a way for you to share in your friends’ progress. Now this isn’t a StreetPass function, but it is a social function, and I think it’s worth mentioning. Let’s say you have a friend who also owns Bravely Default. You both play, and while you train one of your characters to master, say, the Knight job, your friend focuses on the Templar job. These jobs complement each other pretty well, but neither of you want to take the time to level the other job all the way up. With Abililink, you can link your characters together, granting your Knight access to any Templar skills your friend learned, while your friend would likewise have access to all of your Knight skills.

139526236233Now I personally haven’t used this at all, and I don’t plan to. I don’t see the joy in getting the best skills in the game without working for them myself. I guess I’m just old fashioned that way. But it’s very popular with a lot of other players that I’ve met online, and it definitely has its perks. With 24 jobs in the game, and 14 levels to each, and four characters to level them up on, I can see why some people would want a quick out.

Bravely Default has great social aspects, not just for a JRPG, but for any 3DS game. It was the first game I had that actually had me actively looking for StreetPasses, which really says something. It did a great job integrating other people into a genre that is almost exclusively one-player.

If you are a fan of JRPGs, you own a 3DS, and haven’t picked up the game yet… what are you waiting for!? Are you still reading this? You’d better be ordering the game in another tab or we’re gonna have a problem.

All jokes aside, I can’t recommend Bravely Default enough, especially if you’re already a fan of the genre. It may not be perfect, but it’s easily one of my all-time favorites. I don’t regret buying it day one, and I won’t regret when I do the same with the sequel.

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Pocket Players Podcast #61: Smash Direct


A bit later than usual, but we finally got our first new podcast for the redesigned site up! And just in time to chat about this week’s Nintendo Direct that was all about the Super Smash Bros. with our sometimes guest host, Faroresdrgn.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS:

VIDEOS:

QUESTION OF THE SENNIGHT:

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New Site Design is Up!

Hey everyone! Another reason things have been a little slow here this week is that we’ve been putting some final touches on this new site design. But, thanks to some amazing and dedicated work from JV, it’s finally up and we’re very happy with the results. But, tell us what you think in the comments below.

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New Podcast Coming Soon!

Hey everyone. Just wanted to give any visitors a heads-up that the new podcast is coming soon. We just got a little caught up by some PAX preperations for our panel, and I’m trying to get a guest on the show to discuss yesterday’s Nintendo Direct.

Check back tomorrow and we’ll definitely have a show for you!

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Pocket Players Podcast #60: You Got DLC in my Crossover!

TPP Logo 3When games cross boundaries and jump into other games, the world is a chaotic and exciting place! Not only do we have the release of Ace Attorney vs. Phoenix Wright for 3DS this week, but there’s a bunch of DLC for Vita titles to smash two game worlds together.

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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS:

VIDEOS:

WHAT WE’RE PLAYING:

QUESTION OF THE SENNIGHT:

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Google Maps Pokemon Challenge

In a perhaps the best and most surprising April Fool’s joke to date (that’s only half joking), Google released this video for the Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge.

Sure, it’s not as epic and dramatic as in the video, but you actually can hunt for 150 Pokemon on your iOS or Android phone right now. Just log into the Google Maps app and hit the search bar. You’ll see a Pokeball icon that you can click to begin your hunt.

Pokemon you spot on the map can be clicked and captured. It’ll even save your progress in the Pokedex. It’s too early to say what (if anything) will happen should you collect all 150, but I’m certain some of our Pocket Players will be up for the challenge.

Check this forum thread to update each other on finds so we can help each other out!

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Handheld Deals: Bravely Default for $32 & Mario Golf Preorders

Still fresh out the gate, and latest_game_mario_golf__world_tour_2014_gameBravely Default is already down to $32 on Amazon this week. Anyone who’s listened to the podcast has heard me and Adell glow about this game for weeks now, so just get it so I can stop telling you to already. I’m sure this deal will flutter away in just a few days.

Ubisoft is also running a big sale on a bunch of its 3DS eShop titles. Right now you can download Rayman Origins, Rayman 3D, Rabbids: Travel in Time, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars or Splinter Cell 3D for just $15. The sale ends March 31.

Also ending March 31 is your chance to download a free copy of Pokemon X or Pokemon Y when registering a new 2DS, 3DS, or 3DS XL. Visit Club Nintendo for all the details.

Lastly, if you were as excited as I was by the early previews of Mario Golf: World Tour’s fast and fun multiplayer mode, you can now put down a preorder at Amazon for $10 off the full price.

3DS DEALS

3DS XL in Red/Black – $186

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – $20
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror Fate – $15

Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning – $20
Mario Golf: World Tour (Pre-Order) – $30
LEGO Lord of the Rings – $12
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D – $22
Paper Mario: Sticker Star – $20
Pokémon X – $33

Project X Zone – $20
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure – $18

VITA DEALS

Borderlands 2 Limited Edition Vita Bundle – $200

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – $20
Gravity Rush - $16
LittleBigPlanet - $20
Little Deviants - $14
Lumines: Electronic Symphony – $15
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – $10
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – $20
Rayman Legends – $20
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time – $18
Street Fighter X Tekken – $20

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Pocket Players Podcast #59: KC and the Vocaloids

TPP Logo 3This week we talk a bit about vocaloids after KC’s run-in with Hatsune Miku on his Vita. Combined with the Crunchy Roll app coming out this week, Japan looks to be completely conquering our Sony handhelds.

We also talk a bit about what the future of cross-play between iOS and Android phones could mean for mobile gaming.


NEWS HIGHLIGHTS:

VIDEOS:

WHAT WE’RE PLAYING:

INTERSTITIAL MUSIC:

QUESTION OF THE SENNIGHT:

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Handheld Deals: Amazon Celebrates 3rd Birthday with Free Android Games


The Amazon Appstore turns 3 years old this week! (sniff) They just grow up so fast…

That means a ton of Android games are going free just for today and Saturday. So download all you can over the next 48 hours, paying particular attention to Battle Maiden Yuko Runner which is normally $10. There’s even an Adventure Time game thrown in the mix,and MONOPOLY for people who like horrible board games (send your hate mail to KC@ThePocketPlayers.com).

In addition to the games I listed below for your convenience, you can check out the Amazon Appstore main page for a list of non-game apps that are also free for the celebration, plus some week-long app sales.

Lastly, the 3DS XL in Red/Black dropped another $20 this week. Just sayin’…

AMAZON’S FREE ANDROID GAMES
Battle Maiden Yuko Runner
Dr. Panda’s Airport
Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots
King of Math Junior
MONOPOLY
Ski Safari: Adventure Time
Toca Lab
Worms 2: Armageddon
Worms 2: Armageddon (Kindle Tablet Edition)

3DS DEALS

3DS XL in Red/Black – $166

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – $20
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Mirror Fate – $15

Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic – $18
Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning – $20
Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns – $21
Paper Mario: Sticker Star – $20
Pokémon X – $33

Project X Zone – $20
Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure – $18
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition – $17
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers – $24

VITA DEALS

Borderlands 2 Limited Edition Vita Bundle – $200

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate – $20
Gravity Rush - $16
LittleBigPlanet - $23
Lumines: Electronic Symphony – $16
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – $10
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – $20
Rayman Legends – $20
Resistance: Burning Skies – $20
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time – $18
Street Fighter X Tekken – $20

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