Small Snippet of September 2015

Small Snippet sept

Once again we find ourselves with a large gap in between posts, and once again I offer the same excuse. I’m just so tired. Due to this posts often get put so way behind on my priorities, but fret not you’ll get random posts.

Last month was a bit of a blur for me but there were some stand outs amongst the noise.

Sia – This is Actingsia

I have always been aware of Sia, especially her early work within Australia, however her last album and this new one have grabbed my attention. Where 1,000 Forms of Fear was a evolution of her personal style, This is Acting is Sia hitting her mark. The album is solid from start to end, I can say that I am a fan of every song on the album and often find myself sneaking a headphone in and listening to it at work.

One thing you can always count Sia to be is lyrically impressive; This is Acting is once again testament to her emotive skills as a songwriter. I would definitely recommend people press play and give this a listen.

Stand outs on the album for me are: Move Your Body, Unstoppable, Broken Glass and the heart wrenching Alive.

Continue reading “Small Snippet of September 2015”

New Style Boutique

_-Nintendo-Presents-New-Style-Boutique-3DS-2DS-_At first glance, New Style Boutique appears to be a game predominantly for younger girls. However after exhausting my 3DS demo, I finally caved in a purchased the game. Compared to the demo, the game mechanics are very different. The main plot of the game is that after moving to a new town, your character finds a job at a boutique fashion store owned by Evie. After working a few days, you are promoted to manager while the owner goes off and eventually establishes the fashion shows that are featured in the game demo.

The main game play aspects involve creating and picking outfits for clients, stocking and buying inventory from merchandisers as well as participating in nightly fashion shows. In addition to these activities done for the shore, players are able to customise their own character with clothes purchased through the merchandisers as well as makeup and hairstyles purchased at other stores throughout the city.

The game runs on an internal clock, based on a typical day in which only a limited number of activities can be achieved. Broken up into morning, day, night and late night, certain activities can only be accessed at certain times.

There are a variety of fashions available to players with styles ranging from chic, eastern, feminine, gothic, and glam just to name a few. The variety of clothes and the outfit combinations that players can create is only limited by the imagination. The mix of game play keeps New Style Boutique interesting and easily allows gamers to play for multiple (in game) days.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

nnd7The newest installment of the Animal Crossing series a ‘New Leaf‘, sees a return to the hand held with the game being released for the 3DS. Having been only recently made aware of the franchise, by the ‘coming soon’ trailers for the game, the rich history and back catalogue of the series was quickly researched. Having now played both the Animal Crossing ‘City Folk’ on the Wii and original Gamecube game, the developed and forever subtle nature of the series is one that has made quite an impression on me.

The game of every Animal Crossing but in particular ‘New Leaf,’ is in its very nature is subtle. Rather than logging numerous consecutive hours playing through a story, each Animal Crossing game is a simulation and town building game.  The gameplay is one that sees players returning for a small amount of time every day, in order to build, buy and sell objects to develop both the town and the players house. Rather than being boring, the gaming mechanism keeps its appeal long after the purchase of the game.

In regards to ‘New Leaf’ a new angle has been taken to further immerse players into the action with the player being mistaken as the new mayor. This elevated position is one that sees players being able to have a say in exactly how the town operates. Public projects such as windmills, lamp posts, a cafe and even the opening of a night club are all available to a player. A further way that ‘New Leaf’ is modifiable by the player is that players can dicate how they play. That is, through ordinances paid for by the player, the town shopping area can stay open later, or can open earlier, depending on the time in which user tend to play the game.

The most endearing element of the game franchise and ‘New Leaf’ are the characters. The animal characters that populate each tiny town each offer up a new look, perspective, speech type and room design. The interactions that can be had between player and animal are the most surprising as this gamer found herself feeling very strongly for the characters. At the news that one of my animals was considering leaving the town, I was panicked and upset that they would consider leaving. After informing the animal that they were still very much wanted in the town, the decision to stay was one that relieved.

Other more ‘special’ characters such as Isabelle (your secretary of sorts), KK Slider (the musician) Brewster (the caffeine dispensing pigeon), and the Able sisters (who make and distribute clothes) just to name all add to the intrinsic pleasure that this games gives players. If you have never heard of nor played an Animal Crossing game before, then now is the time to try as ‘New Leaf’ is one that delivers on simulation, home and heart. The number of hours spent playing this game, even if it is only for a few minutes a day, are all minutes well spent.

Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure

Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Trearhythm_thiefsure, one of the newer releases from co-developers Sega and Xeen, is a 3DS rhythm game that follows the adventures of Raphael as he and his pet dog, Fondue, traverse Paris trying to solve a mystery.

Glossing over the storyline, at the heart of this game are dance rhythm games. Often times you’ll be playing as Raphael or his alter ego Phantom R as he somehow utilises his dancing skills for good. As well as the dancing you’ll also find mini games where you are Phantom R sneaking into places, where by tapping the screen at the correct time you successfully allow Phantom to duck and hide behind strategically placed objects all the while sneaking into the Louvre. Another type of game that pops up somewhat frequently is where you play as Fondue attempting to impress a lady dog by mirroring her actions. These Fondue games are particularly hard to complete.

Rhythm Thief mini games have an annoying tendency to fail you relatively quickly. Oftentimes it felt like, only three or four notes where missed in a row before you were failed. Even if you were, up until that point, having a perfect game one missed move and you were ready to fail. However, the game does have a little menu before the start of the mini-game where you can buy items that will give you certain amount of leeway. These bonuses range from buying you extra time before you fail or for the truly gifted, you can buy one that will make things harder for you.

Throughout the game there are also collectibles you have to find in order to create additional items. One of these is the master instrument which, when played a certain sound, unlocks more levels of itself to be completed. The un-lockable notes, which are potentially hidden in the background of each place you visit, were a nice touch to the game and I found myself clicking wildly on every screen I came across. An important thing to note though is the way the gyroscopic controls have been integrated in the game, which is to say terribly. Every mini game that utilised this function was one that I dreaded. However it is good to know that these games are pretty rare occurrences, with the majority of the games being rhythm/puzzle centric.

The main thing that lets this game down is its story. Without giving away spoilers, Rhythm Thief starts off great, the opening delivered and it looks lovely. However it is as the story progresses that it slips away. This is in no way saying that the story is not engaging and that some of the characters offer real interest, it is merely the plot holes that stood out more. Things such as non-lethal bullet wounds, a blonde Napoleon and an ending that offers more questions than answers are what really ruffle the feathers. The ending is left just open enough to inspire a sequel, so hopefully in the near future we can re-visit Raphael and Phantom R.

On a final note, it should be mentioned just how beautiful this game is visually. The maps that are used to navigate Paris are given such detail and each different location that you visit are coloured so magnificently. The atmosphere and mood that the game creates is so incredible to interact with and encounter. Despite its short comings, Rhythm Thief is a pleasure to play.