3 Random Games I’m Playing Right Now

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted about video games. My bad. It’s mostly because I’m playing three games right now that are taking up a lot of my time! I still check in with my regular games like ACNL and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, but there’s three games that are really taking over my life right now.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

I’m a noob to the Monster Hunter series. People have tried to get me into the earlier titles in the series, but I never took the time to try it out. I’d played demos and always thought the controls were too confusing. However, I happen to have the New 3DS XL system and it incorporates the new c-stick camera controls REALLY well. So I decided to pick up the game… I mean, everyone’s playing it! That means it must be good right??

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At first I felt kinda bad about hunting these monsters. Especially in the very beginning, they have you slaying these really docile and gentle monsters and I had guilty feelings about it. But once you really get into the action, it’s like, “HEY monster – you’re trying to kill me! Let me kill you first!” and I got over the hunter’s remorse. Now I’m really getting the swing of things, and I can’t believe I didn’t start playing this game sooner. I love games that are content heavy and have a strong multi-player aspect. MH4U incorporates both of these things with extensive quest lists that you can play online with friends, aside from the regular storyline missions. On top of that, you can forge new armor and weapons to upgrade your skills and take on bigger foes. And did I mention that you collect KITTIES?? There are these helpers that you can enlist called Palicoes, and they are all cat-like creatures that do amazing support work during battles. Some add more attack power, others replenish health, some can throw bombs, others focus on defense… you can customize your Palico team to suit your style. I love the Palicoes because they add this element of cuteness to an otherwise gory and somewhat violent game. It’s a LOT of fun and I am down to hunt with friends anytime! Evenings are best for me to get on WIFI. :)

Story of Seasons

Am I the only one who still wants to call this game Harvest Moon? I can’t get the new title to stick in my brain. Anyway, now that Natsume has parted ways with Marvelous and XSEED, I have to call this game Story of Seasons. Cuz Natsume owns the rights to “Harvest Moon” in America and that’s how it goes sometimes. (BTW, don’t try the new Harvest Moon: Lost Valley game unless you’re into Minecraft, because that’s basically what Natsume has done with the franchise here in the US. It’s not pretty.)

Story of Seasons brings us the familiar art style and gameplay features we have grown to know and love in the HM series. I think this is the best farming game available on 3DS, and that’s saying a lot because I really loved “Tale of Two Towns.” I had some issues with “A New Beginning” due to too much customization. I don’t want to worry about decorating the entire damn town, my homestead is enough thanks! Story of Seasons tones down the customizing to a more feasible amount. You can still craft new objects for your farm and place them wherever you want (the same applies to furniture in your house btw!) but you’re limited to your own fields. However, that doesn’t mean you are stuck with just one field area. A cool new feature of Story of Seasons allows you to compete with other farmers in town for some extra fields that are specifically set up for certain types of crops. For example, my character is renting the Root Crops field area in addition to my main farmland. This allows me to free up some space on my homestead for grains and tall crops, and plant all of my root crops in this satellite field instead. But it’s not that simple, you have to defend your rented fields every season by performing well in contests or shipping lots of goods. Yep that’s right, farming just got a lot more competitive!

I haven’t gotten too far in my game yet, only up to early Summer Year 1, but I’m raising cows, a horse and a chicken (with another chick on the way! lol) along with my crops. You get a lot of space on your farm, and you can build multiple barns, chicken coops and other facilities on the homestead. Basically, if you are unable to rent one of the special public fields, you can still grow all types of crops on your own farm, so no worries! Another great feature is the farming itself. Now you use your hoe to plow a plot that grows up to 9 crops at one time. No more watering each individual crop. Now you just water a plot and all of the crops are saturated. Just makes everything that much easier and less time consuming. Leaves you more time to socialize and find a sweetheart in town! I’m still working on that part… lol

Pokemon Rumble World

This game has only been out for a day and I’m already obsessed with it. This is the Pokemon Company’s latest “freemium” game, meaning you pay nothing to download it, but there are a lot of features and items that you can only get if you pay for premium in-game currency. Since the game just came out, there is a sale for the premium currency so I snagged that. It’s not very expensive either.

I’ve been playing the Rumble series since it first came out on the Wii. I love it! I enjoy the action/adventure gameplay, it’s a nice change from the RPG format of the regular Pokemon games. Plus you can take photos while you play. And its a simple enough game that you can pick it up easily and play a few rounds. As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s basically the same as it always had been. You press A for one move and B for another (if you have two moves registered) and beat up other Toy Pokemon dungeon-crawl style. A lot of the music is the same too, I have to add.

But here’s what’s new in Pokemon Rumble World:

  • Mii’s! You import your Mii, who can be customized with new outfits. Other Mii’s will start showing up too via StreetPass and SpotPass, who will help you in the game! Some will let you visit areas for a discounted price, others will give you premium currency if you save them from Toy Pokemon, and more.
  • Hot Air Balloons. In previous games in this series, you had areas to navigate, and you selected the one that you wanted to battle. Now you have to ride Hot Air Balloons, which have to be “refilled” afterwards. This is the main time when the “freemium” aspect comes into play. If you want to challenge the same area twice, you’ll need to spend premium currency. Or wait for a set amount of time, which is indicated in the selection screen. This wait time can be over an hour. You also need to spend premium currency to purchase new Hot Air Balloons that will take you to other areas.
  • Premium Currency. Let me explain this a little bit more. I’m making it sound evil. You can actually EARN premium currency easily throughout the game. There are certain (once a day) areas where you can earn premium currency, and you get even more for free if you get a lot of StreetPasses and interact with friends. It seems to me that the game provides enough premium currency for free to get you through the main parts of the game without paying anything. But if you’re impatient or want to wear a specific premium shirt design, that may cost you out of pocket. It’s up to you if you want to spend money!

There are other new features too, but I won’t spoil everything. This game is FREE to download from the eShop right now, so definitely check it out and see for yourself! My only criticism of Rumble World is the lack of a mini map. The top screen gives you arrows that indicate where the Toy Pokemon are, but I preferred seeing them on a map instead. It’s not a huge deal, just one little thing that I miss about the older games in the series.

Well, as you can imagine, I’ve certainly got my hands full here! All three of these games are really fun and it’s always a struggle to decide which game to play. Rumble World is best for short spurts, since there’s that whole time limit aspect. Monster Hunter can be very intense and time consuming, so it’s ideal to play at home when I have free time. Story of Seasons is low key, so I enjoy playing it when I need to relax, or after an intense hunt in MH4U. They compliment each other nicely.

Soo…. what games have YOU been playing??

Beauty Blog: The #XOVoxBox

It’s been a while since I wrote a Beauty Blog! Luckily I just received the latest Influenster #XOVoxBox, filled to the brim with goodies! Here’s the lowdown of what they sent me:

  • Adore Me – FREE lingerie coupon code!! (I’m going to blog about this in more detail in an upcoming entry. It’s worth it!)
  • Lands’ End – $25 off $100 purchase coupon code. Not exactly the most thrilling item in the box, I’m afraid. But if you like Lands’ End, I can share the coupon! If you would like a coupon code, please PM me on Twitter – @gluxbox
  • eBay – This campaign has actually been running for a while. eBay is trying to get people to write “how to” guides and then you get a $25 gift card for eBay. I attempted to do this, I wrote two guides but eBay rejected them for some reason. So it’s pictured but I will not be doing anything more with that one lol!
  • Colgate Optic White – Included was a whitening toothpaste and a cool whitening toothbrush. What makes this toothbrush special is that there is a little whitening gel pen that fits inside the handle of the toothbrush. After brushing, you put this gel on your teeth and it helps to whiten. It’s pretty nifty, I must say! Too bad I’m a former smoker… it’s gonna take a long time to get the yellow out. :(
  • Skinfix – This is a hand moisturizer that works for eczema too. What a coincidence, I have a tiny patch of eczema on my arm! I started applying it daily to the little spot and the redness/itchiness has already reduced. Awesome!
  • John Frieda Frizz Immunity Collection – I received a trial size Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Primer from the Frizz Immunity Collection. I am already a big fan, this is perfect for my hair type. They also included a coupon so I can save a few bucks when I purchase the full size bottles. I love this!
  • Tide Pods – Just in time for me to do my laundry, I received a bag of Tide Pods! These are cute little pre-measured pods of Tide detergent with Febreeze. At first I was a little weirded out by the fact that the pod itself “dissolves” into the water, but my laundry came out smelling fresh and there were no remnants from the pod packaging anywhere in the load of clothes.

Clearly I have tried all of the products already, I couldn’t resist. My personal favorites from the #XOVoxBox are the John Frieda samples and the free lingerie. OMG THE FREE LINGERIE. So worth it. I will explain soon, I promise.

Do you want free stuff too? You should totally sign up for Influenster. Get in touch with me and I can hook you up!

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Animal Crossing & Smash: An Observation

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Wii U Animal Crossing Stage

Hey everyone! Super Smash Bros. Wii U is coming out THIS FRIDAY (11/21/14) and I got a chance to play it early at a demo event this past weekend. I was really excited about the new Animal Crossing stage! But when I saw it in all it’s glory… I realized it was a bit dated.

Am I the only one who cares about this? I touched on this a little in my last blog entry. The Villager, the Wii U Animal Crossing stage… everything except for Tortimer Island in Smash 3DS is actually based on Animal Crossing: City Folk, and not Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I guess I’m the only one who thinks this is weird? I’m sure it’s a result of games like these being so content-heavy that production takes years, and when they were working on the Smash game ACCF might have been the only option for the game designers to use as a model. But personally it kind of bothers me! I’m just being nit-picky. I think they should have updated the look of the Villager characters to match ACNL, at least.

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ACNL Female Villager

ACNL Female Villager

Again, notice that these SSB4 Villager characters are short and well, wide around the middle. The female at the end is jumping and you can see her little undies, which was a trademark (and pet-peeve of mine) of the female characters in ACCF and earlier. I was happy when they changed the look of the human characters in ACNL, making them a little more proportionate and girls’ underwear not visible lol! I think this would have been an improvement for Smash players too, because the way the Villager was designed, the character is more of a shorter, child size character like Ness or Toon Link. I would have pictured the Villager as a medium height character in Smash Bros., especially since the villagers are almost as tall as the tall bears in ACNL.

Height comparison - Vllager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Height comparison – Villager and Grizzly, courtesy of the awesome Sosostris Blog!

Aside from the Villager character design in Smash, my other observation is about the Wii U Animal Crossing stage. (NOTE: SPOILER ALERT!!!) It’s a fantastic stage, excellent for competitive play and incorporates the “rolling log” effect of the Animal Crossing games, which is really cool! The graphics look amazing. So amazing that you can see the Town Gate all the way in the background… wait a sec. Town Gate?? This is a feature from the Animal Crossing City Folk series! In ACNL, there are train tracks, the Train Station and a stairway to the Shopping District at the north-most part of town.

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See those adorable Animal Crossing characters that stand along the background of the flat area in the stage? Sure, you might recognize the three pictured here, but during the stage these characters change! I saw Frillard and Serena appear in that part of the stage a few times, and players new to ACNL will certainly not know who they are lol! Plus, you can clearly see a sign for the bus stop, which does not exist in ACNL.

Another feature of this stage in Smash is that you actually follow a bus to the city. It’s really cute! I don’t have any images of that so no major spoilers here but I just think it’s interesting that they chose to model this stage after the Wii game instead of the latest 3DS game. I know it’s not a big deal and I’m a fan of throw-backs too… it’s just not what I was expecting I guess.

Tortimer Island

Tortimer Island

Really can’t complain though. At least Animal Crossing is represented in the game! And we do have Tortimer Island, which is a really awesome stage in Super Smash Bros. 3DS. I love this stage because of the awesome music, its like a remix of the songs Kapp’n sings on the boat ride to the island! Plus you can get eaten by sharks and harvest fruit from the trees. It’s one of my favorite stages!

Wouldn’t it be great if all of the ACNL animal townies were assist trophies? Or all the gyroids?? You know, maybe they should just make an Animal Crossing/Fighting Game crossover series to get more people interested in the franchise lol! I’d play it…

Smash is Back!

The return of Mayor Gluxie.

Mayor Gluxie had been missing from Jubilife Town in ACNL for quite some time. Weeks, months probably… Isabelle was up to her doggy ears in paperwork trying to pick up the slack. Where was Mayor Gluxie? There wasn’t much of an excuse for the absence all summer, but in the past month, Animal Crossing Villagers had been spotted in another popular Nintendo title.

Where the Villager has been…

OK, so maybe you pro’s might notice that the Villager pictured here isn’t really Mayor Gluxie. Let’s just go with the suspension of disbelief ok? They didn’t make Mayor Gluxie’s face type an option in Super Smash Bros. 3DS lol! Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed this but the “sprite” of the Villager character still maintains the fashion style and proportions of the ACCF/ACWW Villager, note that you can see the female Villager’s undies – something that was done away with in the newest installment of the game. The Villager is also not as tall and slender as in ACNL. Am I the only one who cares? Probably.

Since the release of Super Smash Bros. 3DS on October 3rd, I’ve been playing this game practically non-stop. When I need a dose of nonviolence, I’ll switch over to ACNL, Harvest Moon or Tomodachi Life. But that usually doesn’t last long before I start jonesin’ for some more Smash action. I’m really enjoying the latest Smash Bros. game, there are a lot of new features and game modes. Plus… you can take SCREENSHOTS! I’ve decided to turn Smash into my own personal Pokemon Snap Redux. I’m going to start taking photos of every Pokemon and build myself a Smash Pokedex. And of course, I’ll only use the BEST photos, only the ones that would be up to Professor Oak’s standards! Save that for a future blog entry… lol!

Pokemon Snap Smash!

Overall, I have a ton of things I love about Super Smash Bros. 3DS. The updated graphics look amazing, the new characters add more options and being able to customize them really opens up the playing field in the competitive scene. I love the multiplayer options – from the original Smash mode to Smash Run and don’t forget the 2-Player games like Multi-man Smash! Since the game is now portable, it’s even easier to participate in local Smash Tournaments in the area. I recently went to a tournament in NYC and we dressed up in Smash Bros. cosplay. It was so much fun!

Smash Bros. Cosplayers!

I might not have won the tournament (wah) but I did make it to the second round, and I got a decent number of KO’s. I just need to keep practicing. If any of you out there want to battle, hit me up on Twitter – @gluxbox!

If that wasn’t enough gaming for you, there are three cool titles coming out THIS FRIDAY (Oct. 24th)! Coming to stores is the adorable Fantasy Life, which is another open-world style game with a bit of action and quests thrown in. Also coming out on 10/24 is Pokemon Art Academy so we can learn how to draw some of our favorite Pokemon – and I hear each game comes with a demo code for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, which is coming out this November! Not to be forgotten is Bayonetta 2 releasing this Friday for the Wii U, which has really cool dark graphics and a lot of magic and dragon-filled action/adventure (check out the demo on the eShop now)! I’m definitely picking up Fantasy Life on Friday… the others might have to wait. Too many games, my wallet can’t handle it lol!

What games have YOU been playing lately??  :D

MASK ATTACK!

Woo I am pumped!  I was recently contacted by Montagne Jeunesse (I recently blogged about their products when I was reviewing an Influenster VoxBox!) to review some new facial masks and I just received them in the mail!  It was the perfect thing to discover after a long day at the office.  I had a few extra minutes today while getting ready to go out with JDubz, so I thought I’d give one a try right now!

Since I’d tried the Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Mask in my Influenster VoxBox back in January, I wanted to see what the new Aloe Vera Face Spa had to offer.  (As you can see, this time around Montange Jeunesse sent me different samples from their face mask product line, so the Aloe Vera Face Spa was actually the ONLY fabric mask that I received in this set.)  I really like these fabric face masks because they are very quick and easy, and there is literally ZERO mess.

I was short on time and there’s a nice big “5 MINUTE FACIAL” icon right on the pouch, so I quickly ripped it open and applied it, as you can see in the photo lol!  The first thing that I really liked was how they changed the aesthetic.  When I had tried the MJ Clay Spa mask in January, my main criticism was that since the mask was light brown, it kind of looked like skin.  I felt like I looked like a serial killer wearing someone else’s skin.

However with the new Aloe Vera Face Spa that I tried today, the mask was designed in a MUCH more pleasing way.  The mask was white with some aloe leaves printed on as a pattern.  I really prefer this style because it looks a lot less creepy.  I mean sure, any facial or mud mask facial from ANY brand is going to look creepy, that’s part of the fun!  But at least this one didn’t look like skin lol!

The application of the product was the same as my previous experience; it was easy, quick and no drippy mess.  I enjoyed the light aloe scent as well.  But the best part of the experience was after I rinsed off the mask.

When I put on my makeup, I always start with my BB cream.  I was very impressed with how the BB cream glided over my freshly treated skin.  My skin was so smooth and silky, the BB cream slid over my skin like butter (in a good way).  Gotta love that aloe!!

I’m hoping to do a YouTube review of the other three masks in the next week or so.  Check back soon for more info!

Oh and the BEST part about Montagne Jeunesse reaching out to me is that YOU can get in on the fun too!  Montagne Jeunesse is offering a special Exclusive Blogger Giveaway!  To enter for a chance to win a free masque, all you need to do is visit the Montagne Jeunesse USA Facebook Page and register.  Follow this link to enter the giveaway:  http://on.fb.me/1jdNTqF

Disney’s Magical Game

Pretty much all of my other games can just kiss me goodbye for the next few weeks, because I’ve found the ultimate game for me!!

Disney’s Magical World is everything I’d hoped it would be and more.  It’s like a combination of all of my favorite types of games, from Animal Crossing to Harvest Moon, with a touch of Diner Dash/Cake Mania, plus a little third-person action/adventure element too… all set in the Disney world, of course!

I fell in love with this game immediately.  I enjoy collection games where you have to seek out and collect as many items as you can, and that’s what this game has in spades.  Every area of the in-game world has special themed collectables, which you use to create new dishes for your Cafe, or to assemble new clothing sets, and craft themed furniture items too!

When I discovered that the 100 Acre Wood was the area where you can farm, I was so excited!  I love Winnie the Pooh so much.  After I planted some crops, I noticed that Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, etc. would come over and help me water the crops and pull weeds!  How freakin’ cute is that???

So far I’ve unlocked areas for the following Disney themes: Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and Aladdin.  (Note that I’ve only been playing the game for like 4 days lol!)  I literally cannot stop playing this game.  I’ve heard some criticism on the “grind” but I don’t even notice.  I love collecting everything, and as you play further in the game certain collectables become extremely easy to obtain and it all becomes second nature.  The action/adventure aspect is so much fun because you can craft new clothing that gives you better defense, and you can increase your offense by upgrading your magic wand.  It’s so cool!

I love being able to customize my Mii by wearing different outfits.  You can put together your own look by wearing different Disney themed hats, shirts, pants and shoes.  On top of that, you can unlock costumes, Quest outfits and formal wear.  I’ve already completed the Cinderella gown, so I get to run around dressed up in a fancy ball gown!  It’s adorable.

Honestly, I could go on all day about how much I love this game.  I hope I don’t beat it too quickly.  All I can think about as I write this is how much I want to play the game.  I’m obsessed.

There are two criticisms that I have of this game.  First of all, there is no Wi-Fi (aside from DLC) for online multiplayer.  Secondly, while there is free DLC, there is also paid DLC.  As of now there’s only like $5 worth of DLC you can buy, but I can see that easily adding up over time as they release new themes.  I’m a sucker for this stuff so I might be in trouble lol!

Holy Awesome Games!!

If you haven’t seen the latest Nintendo Direct, or rather, the Smash Bros. Direct from 4/8/14… well you are missing out.  The half hour long presentation has taken the Nintendo community by storm!  New game footage and details have been revealed about the upcoming Smash Bros. games for Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

There is just TOO much to hype about in the upcoming Smash games!!  So many new Pokemon playable characters, the Animal Crossing Villager character, new stages, new Final Destination stage options, new game modes for the 3DS version… and the graphics for the Wii U version are just so fantastic, I can’t get over it!  If you haven’t checked out the Nintendo Direct, watch it here.  Even if you’ve never played Smash Bros. before, now is the time to get into this franchise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xUWnQu2Grs

Can I just say that I totally LOVE Sakurai??  His hair is awesome!  He clearly is a huge Pokemon fan, has a hilarious sense of humor, and definitely represents what I consider to be “my generation” of gamers.  Is it bad that I secretly wish Sakurai would host all future Nintendo Direct videos?  :P

The bad news is that we have to wait.  Super Smash Bros. 3DS won’t be released until this summer.  The Wii U version is slated to be released this WINTER (holiday season no doubt) so we have a while before that new challenger will approach.  Not to mention we don’t have any actual concrete release dates.  I hate that!  My main worry is that the Wii U version will eventually be pushed back to 2015.  Fingers crossed that the developers stay on schedule.  Super Smash Bros. is going to be huge for StreetPass communities, and I can’t wait!!  So what am I supposed to do until then?

Good news!  Lots of cool games are coming out in the coming weeks and months.  Tomorrow, April 11th is the release date for Disney Magical World, which I’m sure many of my readers are psyched about!  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s kind of like a cross between Disney Infinity and Animal Crossing, with a touch of Harvest Moon.  You’re in the Disney world, and you get to interact with the Disney characters in a similar way to how Animal Crossing works.  From what I understand, it follows the daily calendar.  But you also get to gather items and collect things, which you use to craft OTHER things, which is why I say it’s also kind of like Harvest Moon.  Plus there’s some action/battling and you also run a cafe.  Everything I like!  If you want to learn more, check out this trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHDR–vr7vQ

Lots of cool games are coming out in May as well.  Namely, the awesome new Kirby Triple Deluxe and Mario Golf are both slated to be released early May.  At the end of May comes Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, which also looks to be AMAZING.  Sweet HD graphics on Rainbow Road?  Yes please!!

So hopefully all of those new games will tide us over until the release of Smash on 3DS later this summer.  I know I barely have time to play the games I have… I bought Yoshi’s New Island recently and have barely had a chance to play it because I’m still backlogged!  I was rushing to beat Pokemon X before the PVGC, but now that the big competition is over I can put Pokemon down for a minute.  What I really want to do is finish Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward which I had rented from GameFly.  I’m like half way through it so that’s my goal.

And if you are wondering… I have NO idea how I am going to manage 3 ACNL towns as well as Disney Magical World.  I haven’t even played ACNL in over a week, I’m sad to say.  There are just not enough hours in the day!  I’m hoping I will make some time to play games this weekend, even though I will be in Boston for PAX East.

But what can I say?  I have a ton of awesome games to play so I really can’t complain can I?  :D