ReCore – First Impressions

ReCore is an action-adventure platforming Xbox One exclusive game that was released in September of last year (and although I was excited about the game I was obviously slow to actually go and purchase it).

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image credit – Microsoft

In ReCore, you play as Joule Adams, a young volunteer from the “Far Eden” colony. You and your people enlisted the help of CoreBots to essentially reconstruct this new planet into a habitable one for humans. The volunteers sent to Far Eden were put into cryosleep for approximately 200 years to await the completion of the terraforming. However, when Joule awakes from her cryosleep, it seems that nothing has gone according to plan. This is where the game begins as she enlists the help of her companion K-9 unit, Mack.

You are quickly submerged in this new environment, and the essential controls are established quickly as well. It’s a strange world, and Joule is just as confused as to what’s going on as you are. Slowly but surely however, you and Mack discover what’s become of the CoreBots that were supposed to have spent the last 200 years terraforming the new planet. Somehow, they’ve all become corrupt, and there has been mention of a revolution of some kind.

After tackling your first simple dungeon, you’re sent back to your Crawler which serves as headquarters for Joule and her K-9 unit, where you learn the basics of upgrading your companion CoreBots and learn the next step to the story line. Once the initial training has been completed the world opens up, and the game reveals itself as the full platforming and semi-open world game that it is.

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image credit – Microsoft & GameRant.com

As of now, I haven’t gotten very far into the game. The most progress I’ve made is discovering Kai, another volunteer who has awoken out of cryosleep, and his companion SP-DR unit Seth.

This game is gigantic. The wasteland open world is minimal but extremely detailed. ReCore is full of puzzles and platforms, and the open world makes it hard to stay on one track to your next objective. The controls are simple enough, but battles are fast paced and require perfect timing of attacks and maneuvers. Your foes are all tough, but luckily you have your companions the assist you. While Mack is able to fight close-quarters and can help you find things buried in the ground, Seth makes use of projectiles and makes use of his multiple legs to climb walls and such with you on his back.

As I mentioned before, the open world aspect makes it very difficult to keep focused on your primary objective, especially when you’re always on the lookout for parts to save for upgrading your companions.

So far I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this game, being very reminiscent of Tomb Raider, Borderlands, and Zelda all in one. It’s not very often (yet this seems to be changing) that you get such an amazing game paired with a strong female lead – which in my book makes it all the more awesome.

What do you guys think of ReCore? Have you finished it? Let me know your thoughts below!

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Pokemon Go! – Update

Hiya! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday! I thought I’d stop on in and show you my most recent favorite Pokemon that I’ve caught/hatched/evolved. πŸ™‚

First and foremost: I finally got all of the current eveeloutions available in the game!

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Yayyyy!!!! It makes me super happy to see these three in my list of Pokemon. ❀

Up next we’ve got a little bit of variety….

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The Dratini was caught during my last hunt night with Zach and a friend, after of course chasing it around for about 15 minutes. XD The Ponyta I actually hatched in a 5k egg! Yay! And last but not least, the little Gloomy Gloom over on the end I simply evolved from an Oddish.

I also recently evolved my male Nidoran to a Nidorino…

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And last but not least…the second Pokemon that I’ve hatched out of a 10k egg ended up being…

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A friggen Aerodactyl!!! Woop Woop! Of course, Zach was jealous (he’s only hatched 1 10k egg…and it was a Pinsir XD ).

What interesting Pokemon have you guys caught?

till next post, Katie

Pokemon Go Is Actually A Good Game

If any of you are following me on Instagram then you already know that – much like 99.9% of the world – I’ve been recently obsessed with Pokemon Go, which just came out last week. My past week has been full of late night “hunting” expeditions with Zach and our friends, and a few times we’ve even made unplanned trips out of the house because a new Pokemon was on our list of Nearby Pokemon. XD

For those that have been living under a social rock for the past week, Pokemon Go is a mobile game that uses your phone’s GPS and camera to lead you on a hunt to find Pokemon of your very own in the “real world”. You then can use the front facing camera to make is appear as though the Pokemon is in front of you or switch the feature off (saving lots of battery) and have it appear on a basic grassy background.

Some people, however, feel like Pokemon Go just isn’t the game that it should be. Others want it to feel and play a bit more like the console-based games of the past where you have turn by turn battles and where leveling and evolving your Pokemon was based on battling them.

While I do think it would be great for those features to be in this game, I also feel like that’s not quite the point of Pokemon Go. To me, the game is more about collecting the different types of Pokemon and having your own adventures in catching them all. It’s about the journey and excitement of catching all your favorite childhood Pokemon, and meeting new people and bringing them together like never before.

Over the past week Zach and I have met so many people around town and we’ve bonded – all because of a game. Everywhere we go there are people on their phones searching for Pokemon, and anywhere you go you’re able to strike up a conversation with them and excitedly talk about which Pokemon you’ve found. Groups of complete strangers have gathered together at the Poke-stops (little GPS “check points” where you can collect items and are more likely to find Pokemon) and everyone helps find that wandering Eevee or that surprising Snorlax.

Pokemon Go is a wonderful game because of it’s unique and beautiful power of bringing thousands of people together and bringing people out of their homes just to walk around their own town and meet other like-minded people. Pokemon Go has gotten people off of their couches and out into the real world, making them exercise and discover their towns.

In this way Pokemon Go is possibly the most powerful game we’ve ever come across. The world suddenly has become this amazing and friendly place. You can be looking for that Squirtle and someone will notice and tell you “if you’re looking for the Squirtle it’s over this way…” You realize that you’ve got a lot more in common with people that you thought. You realize that you’re never alone.

It’s just so beautiful to me how all of these people – complete and absolute strangers – have come together over the nostalgia of an old game. So many 20-somethings are living out their childhood dreams of being a Pokemon trainer and catching the favorite Pokemon of their youth.Β So while no, you can’t battle your friends in the turn based system of the past (yet) and evolving your Pokemon is reliant of catching more of the same Pokemon as opposed to battling them it’s truly a wonderful game. Simply because of it’s power to bring us all together.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way….let’s get to the bragging session. I’m probably going to make semi-frequent updates with you guys here on the Pokemon that I’ve caught or evolved so you can definitely look forward to seeing more Pokemon here! ^_^

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First things first, I’m obligated to tell you that once I hit level 5 I sorted myself into Team Mystic, the team lead by Blanche. Team Mystic is guided by calmness and wisdom. The other two teams are Instinct (guided by faith and trust – and as I like to joke – pixie dust) and Valor (guided by strength and power).

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These are actually among my favorite of the first few that I caught. And in fact, I haven’t been able to even find another Tentacruel or even a Tentacool anywhere. I’ve come across a couple of Cubones, and one or two Nidorina.

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Surprisingly, the University of Florida campus (where Zach and I do a lot of our “hunting”) is home to a lot of Onix, so I’ve actually been able to catch 3 or 4 of them. Goldeen has always been a personal favorite of the Pokemon (I’ve realized that I’m typically very drawn to water type Pokemon). I’m especially excited about having the Meowth, and I look forward to evolving it. πŸ™‚

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These three were kind of surprise finds, and all of which where a little difficult to catch – I used at least 3 pokeballs on each of them. The Jigglypuff I caught when I was pretty low level, so that explains how I used 3 pokeballs on a CP 12 Pokemon lol.

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These 3 have actually been pretty rare in my area. Zach and I are the only people that I know of that have a Rhyhorn, and we’ve both been able to evolve a Caterpie into a Metapod and then into a Butterfree (which for some reason I was hell bent on getting even though it’s not considered the best Pokemon). The Magnemite however is one that I’ve yet to meet another person with, and even I had to hatch it out of an egg (eggs are found at the Poke-stops and you have to walk a certain distance before they hatch – yay for forcing people to exercise!).

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Now of course, I was thrilled to find myself a Pikachu – who was always one of my favorites. Simply because Pokemon Yellow for the Gameboy Color was my very first Pokemon game. Zach and I found Kadabra by my friend’s house…that was one of those impromptu expeditions to find a new Pokemon lol (we spent 30 minutes looking for it). Machop, on the other hand, just popped up at the Poke-stop we were sitting at last night. So we got pretty lucky with him.

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Last but not least, these three are by far my favorites right now. We’ve got Flareon, who I covet simply because Eevee and all the Eeveeloutions are by far my favorites (and I plan on having all three – Vapaoreon and Jolteon are the only ones available right now). The Lapras, however, she is my pride and joy. ❀ I hatched her out of a 10k egg – which is the type of egg you get possibly the best Pokemon out of. And now the last one – Arcanine…Zach and I were actually on our way home from hunting on campus and he popped up on our map so we literally turned around and stayed out an extra 20 minutes until we found him XD.

So what do you guys think of Pokemon Go? What’s the favorite Pokemon that you’ve caught? Let me know in the comments below and have a great rest of your day!

till next post, Katie

Game Review: Monument Valley for iPhone

Monument Valley is a puzzle game made byΒ Ustwo, sold in the Apple App Store. It won the Apple iPad Game of the Year award for 2014 and was also the winner of the Apple Design Award in the same year. A couple months ago it was the featured app of the week in the App Store, so I decided to give it a go.

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Monument Valley is a puzzle game based in a world strongly influenced by the works of M.C. Escher. Your goal is to help a princess proceed on a quest that you of course know nothing about – and learn very little about – by solving puzzles that involve lifting, spinning, and manipulating the environment in many ways.

The concept of the game is very simple: get Princess Ida through each level to further the very vague and almost nonexistent storyline. From the very start you are led to believe that Princess Ida has betrayed her kingdom in some unforgivable way, but you are never told how or why, and it’s never made clear how proceeding in these puzzles will help her reach her goal…whatever it is. It’s obvious though, that the story isn’t the important part of the game; it just gives the player more of a drive to clear levels and make progress. The focus on the game is the artwork and intricate puzzles themselves.

Like I mentioned before, the game is strongly influenced by the works of M.C. Escher. So it’s a no brainer that, in order to get through each level, you’ll have to twist and lift and turn the floors and stairs of the environment.

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The game starts out simply, making it easy and fast to catch on to the mechanics of the world. But as your progress, each level quickly becomes more challenging, so it’s never a dull or repetitive session.

One of my favorite levels was a puzzle box of sorts, where you have to guide Ida through a variety of mini-puzzles to reach your final destination.

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Now unfortunately there’s only 20 levels to play through, plus another set of mini puzzle levels called “Ida’s Dream”. Once you’ve finished them all you are still able to play through all of the levels again or purchase the expansion set of puzzles called “Forgotten Shores” for $1.99.

I have yet to buy it, because while the game was enjoyable I’m not sure if it was enjoyable enough to make me want to buy the expansion quite yet.

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Conclusion: TBG Rating – 5 out of 5 Stars

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I’m going ahead and rating this with a full 5 stars because while yes, the game is lacking in the storyline department, it’s also not supposed to be the main focus. The focus is meant to be almost completely on the puzzle aspect and simplicity of the designs. And while it’s unfortunate that you have to purchase the expansion if you want to continue playing, the 20 levels plus the bonus level “Ida’s Dream” should keep you busy for plenty of time – unless you’re like me and tend to binge-play games that fascinate you.

But as it stands, Monument Valley is a great and simple puzzle game that’s perfect for passing the time and giving your brain a good stretch. If you enjoy M.C. Escher’s style and puzzles that you can play while on the bus/waiting in line/sitting on the porcelain throne, then you’ll enjoy guiding Princess Ida through Monument Valley.

Have you guys played Monument Valley, or the Forgotten Shores expansion? If you have, what are your thoughts? What games should I review next? Let me know in the comments below!

till next post, Katie

Rise of The Tomb Raider Trailers: My Thoughts

Ever since my sister gave me my first Tomb Raider game for Christmas one year, I’ve been hooked on the series and pretty much obsessed. And when Square Enix released the last Tomb Raider game, I was so in love with it and impressed with how well they made the game. At long last, Lara Croft was the heroine that she was always meant to be. So it’s a no brainer that I’m super excited for the new game coming out this winter, Rise of The Tomb Raider.

This game takes place after the incident on Yamatai, Lara’s first adventure and what started it all. According to Wikipedia, what happened to Lara on Yamatai was covered up by an organization called Trinity. To prove that she isn’t insane, Lara becomes obsessed with finding the truth behind myths around the world.

Supposedly, Rise of the Tomb Raider takes Lara to Siberia for Kitezh, an ancient city built by the Grand Prince of Vladimir in the 13th century. Lara believes it holds truths about immortality. Lara races against Trinity, fighting humans, animals and her environment to find the truth and become who she was meant to be.

I am so excited and hopefully for the next installment of the new and improved Tomb Raider series, and I can’t wait to watch some of the gameplay on June 15th during E3! Watching these trailers gave me the worst case of chills you can imagine, but I loved every second of it. I know this is my most anticipated game to come out this year, and it really really sucks that I have to wait until the end of the year to get it. I guess this also means I need to get an Xbox One….

There’s just something about Tomb Raider that I’ve always admired and loved. To have a strong and independent heroine figure in a video game is huge for me, and the fact that she is finally who she was supposed to be makes me so happy and proud that the times are changing at long last.

What are your thoughts on the trailers to Rise of The Tomb Raider? Are you as ridiculously excited as I am? What game are you most looking forward to this year?

till next post, Katie

NOTE: I am not being paid or compensated in any way shape or form by any of the above mentioned companies/organizations/brands, nor am I affiliated with them. I am sharing these trailers of my own free will and the thoughts and opinions written here are my own and 100% true to me.