Neko Atsume: English Edition

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When I heard that a popular Japanese game about cats was being released in English, I immediately downloaded it. A game about collecting kitties is basically an embodiment of my childhood fantasies (especially having grown up with a mother allergic to cats).

As for the game itself? It has good points and less exciting points. The goal of the game is simple: buy and arrange food, toys, and furniture to attract cats. Collect them in a cat album. Be rewarded with fish that you can then use to buy more food, toys, and furniture . . . and attract MORE cats.

The Pros

The graphics are cute and colourful, and the mementos that the cats give you are endearing and weird (from small mittens to cicada skin). There’s decent variety in terms of the food types, toys, and furniture you can buy, and working your way up to the point where you can buy a room expansion can be addictive. The cats also sometimes show up in funny costumes or odd positions, which can be entertaining.

The Cons

I feel like I want more features like the mementos to feel like I’m getting something out of my relationship with the cats, adorable pixels that they are. It would be nice if, when you clicked on a cat, you could do more than just see its statslike maybe pet it or have it react in some way.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 fish

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Overall, the game is a fun and somewhat engaging time waster, but to maintain my attention the way I’d like it to, it would need something to make it more interactive and personal. I’ve been playing for a few months, but ever since I got the room expansion and the main items I wanted, the appeal has waned somewhat, and I usually only feed the cats every couple of days when I’m bored waiting for the subway. That said, maybe that’s all the game needs to be there for.

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Zombies in PEI?! Reviewing Unturned

Have you ever wondered how a zombie apocalypse would play out in PEI? Well, the answer you are seeking can be found in Unturned, a free-to-play sandbox survival game based in the Cradle of Confederation. The game offers a single-player mode, though I would highly recommend playing with friends on a hosted server or joining an open server because surviving the zombie apocalypse alone just isn’t as fun.

Zombie hoard at sunset.

Zombie hoard at sunset.

When you start playing, you’ll find your character naked in a random location on the island; then the long journey to find your non-zombie comrades among the undead hordes begins. There are a few elements in this game that help speed up this process. Firstly, there are a number of cars you can find which boost your travel time and have the added bonus of loud engines to alert fellow players of your presence. There are also a number of landmarks that make meeting up a little easier—so far, my group of friends has a good track record for managing to meet up at the aircraft control tower in the zombie-infested airport. Then it’s up to your group to scavenge for supplies: weapons, food, clothes et cetera. These supplies make it possible to create a home base equipped with sleeping bags or cots, which serve as future respawn points if one happens to be eaten by zombies.

Pondering the nature of respawn points.

Pondering the nature of respawn points.

The thing that makes Unturned really special is the attention to little details. For example, the cars you can find will eventually run out of gas, making it imperative to find a gas can and a town with a gas station to refuel.  It is also important to find canteens that can be used at the well so that there is a steady supply of drinking water. Though the graphics of the game are simple, the elements of survival are complicated and involve more forethought than “shoot the zombies”. The zombie killing is still an important aspect of the game, however, both for entertainment and to gain experience so that levels can be put into things such as endurance or marksmanship.

Out for a gas run.

Out for a gas run.

There is also the crafting side of the game that allows you to farm, make bandages using cloth and clothing, and create building supplies to build your own custom safe house. I personally like to be situated near a farm, but being situated near the water to watch the reflection of the moon can offer some poignant moments of philosophizing over the zombie apocalypse.

 

4 zombies out of 5

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-Steph

Introducing Steph Chaves, Plus a Review of Five Nights at Freddy’s (Just in Time for Halloween!)

Hello, Geeks.

On this spookiest of days, it is my pleasure to introduce you to our newest writer, Steph Chaves. She’s a lit geek who loves anime and a host of other nerdy things, and she’s starting her position at Geek Collateral off with a post about Five Nights at Freddy’s, a creepy Steam game perfect for Halloween. Take it away, Steph:

Five Nights at Freddy’s
review by Steph Chaves

Five nights at Freddys screenshot 3

Alone in the dark.

You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a horror movie and that eerie violin music starts playing? Have you ever wished a video game could make you feel that horrible anxiety the entire play-through? Well, then you might just want to try Five Nights at Freddy’s, a point-and-click survival game that retails for $5.49 on Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/319510/ ). There are also cell phone adaptations available for both Android and iPhones, though I have yet to play the game on either platform.

The concept of the game is fairly simple: you are the overnight security guard at a Chuck E. Cheese-esque family restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, but there’s a catch: the animatronics have a tendency to walk around at night. Worse still, if the animatronics see a human, they think of them as a robot not in costume and therefore “forcefully shove” them into a spare outfit, killing the non-robotic human in the process. So the player has to monitor the security cameras, the lights beside each entrance of the security room, and the door to ensure none of the murderous mascots get inside. Unfortunately, you only have a limited amount of battery life.

Five nights at Freddys screenshot 1

And suddenly, you aren’t alone.

Five nights at Freddys screenshot 2 The best part of the game is the high tension when you’re looking around your small room waiting for, and hoping to prevent, impending doom. As the title of the game dictates, there are five nights, or levels, that you have to survive, with each successive night increasing in difficulty. There is also a sixth night that is unlocked after (if) you survive the original five. Once the sixth night has been accomplished, “Custom Night” is unlocked, where the player can adjust the difficulty levels of the AI. Each night has the same excruciating anxiety. The mood is set by the grainy camera, how the animatronics glitch on camera, the odd laughter that can be heard outside the halls, and the surprise of finding an animatronic standing right outside your door when you check the lights. All of this adds up to a great horror game that uses jump scares more effectively than most horror movies. Each of the animatronics (there are four, plus one spooky extra) is incredibly unnerving to look at, even when they aren’t hunting for human exoskeletons. For bonus creep factor, you can google theories surrounding the plot for Five Night at Freddy’s (let’s just say there’s a likely reason for the foul-smelling odour emanating from the animatronic suits).

If you end up really enjoying the game, you should know that a sequel has been greenlit for the Steam community and a trailer is already out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVPONdZBh6s&list=FLqXmwAB5nOAPNu2YzLE6oNw

Five murderous animatronics out of five

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Sushi Cat’s Delicious Adventures

Hey, Geeks.

Do you love cats? Sushi? Computer games? Adorable animation? Chances are that you like at least one of these things; Sushi Cat and its three sequels from Armor Games will indulge your desire for all four. The game features a round, blue, sushi-loving cat who can only succeed in his quests for love and happiness by gaining weight. He does this by eating as much sushi as possible through a series of pinball games. Most of the sushi simply count toward achieving a full belly, but some pieces provide special abilities or other bonuses, such as an extra turn for the level or soy sauce bombs that allow you to collect all the sushi within the explosion’s reach.

Sushi Cat

Sushi Cat

Despite the game’s simplicity (the game requires only the ability to click your mouse strategically), I’ve played it on and off for a year now and still enjoy the experience. While I enjoy some hacking and slashing and shooting, sometimes it’s nice to let a game just make you happy. There’s plenty of opportunity for improvement in the game, as there is a certain amount of strategy involved and a lot of sushi to eat, but it’s easy enough to play if you are just looking for a relaxing way to pass the time.

Up until recently, I thought there were only three Sushi Cats: Sushi Cat, Sushi Cat 2, and Sushi Cat: The Honeymoon. Then I discovered Sushi Cat 2: The Great Purrade, which is less polished in terms of graphics and mechanics than the other games but almost makes up for it with added weirdness (the Nyan cat sushi gulp, for example). There’s no need to play the games in order, as they all function perfectly well as stand-alones, but I would recommend playing The Great Purrade after one of the others, as it doesn’t show the beloved furball at his best. The most sophisticated versions would probably be Sushi Cat 2 and Sushi Cat: The Honeymoon.

Sushi Cat's pirate costume

Sushi Cat’s pirate costume

The game isn’t perfect. Glitches related to excessive feline chubbiness can result in an endlessly-bouncing cat on some levels (in which case restarting the level is the only solution), and regardless of your pinball skills, the unpredictability of Sushi Cat’s bouncing often makes collecting ALL the sushi nigh-on impossible (a problem for the obsessive-compulsive among us, myself included). That said, the game makes up for these flaws with a delicious premise and bizarrely cute costumes for your character if you eat enough golden sushi. The game also isn’t trying to push a lot of barriers—Sushi Cat’s wife is pink, and arguments could be made about cultural appropriation (particularly with some of Sushi Cat’s costumes, cute as they are). The makers of the game seem to have only positive intentions, however, and there is something to be said for such a food-positive and plump-positive game. Fatness is Sushi Cat’s superpower.

Sushi Cat is appropriate for all ages and arguably fun for all ages as well. Those who like their games to always include blood and guts may find Sushi Cat’s mostly pastel palette and relentless cuteness boring, but others may find themselves fixated on getting that last piece of sushi in the corner behind a Japanese lantern or bicycle wheel. All four games consistently receive high ratings from players, and I still smile back at the Sushi-meter when its sad, hungry face perks up upon achieving a full belly.

Four rotund kitties out of 5.

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It’s Super Effective! How to Enter the World of Competitive Pokemon

With the release of Pokémon X and Y — already six months ago — fans saw yet another surge of love from the world. People are talking about Pokémon more than ever as the games have found a refreshed look with glorious character models and eye-popping battle effects using the 3DS’ stereoscopic 3D technology. Of course, the question remains: when the credits roll, what do you do with your beloved creatures? Do you attempt the daunting task of catching ’em all? With a staggering 719 Pokémon to obtain, this has become an exhausting endeavor, with rewards only for the most dedicated and hardcore of Pokémon fans. Instead, I suggest a much more fun project: to take competitive and strategic Pokémon for a spin!

As someone who has been participating in the competitive scene locally since Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (Generation IV of the series), I highly recommend this generation of Pokémon games as an excellent stepping-off point for anyone who has ever been curious about getting involved in the scene. GameFreak has started really noticing the increasing attention this area of the Pokémon metagame has been receiving, and addressing it correctly. New mechanics have been implemented to assure less grinding is needed to create competitive-level Pokémon. TMs being multiuse allows for more optimal movesets for Pokémon without struggle. Truly a lot of control has been placed in the hands on the trainers before they even set up on the battlefield, and this is great. What may have once taken me a long time, even days, I can now complete in an hour.

Now, there are several communities online who can help you get familiar with these mechanics. Often, they will give you all of the how-tos, but they don’t really explain why. This guide strives to show you the ropes in order to create your very first cohesive Pokémon team ready for the competitive scene. We will look at the various elements of a good Pokémon team and how to achieve them, and then look at individual Pokémon to learn how to unlock their potentials. Once we have built a team, we will learn solid approaches to using the team in an actual battle!

It is important to note that there are ultimately no right or wrong answers when it comes to building Pokémon teams. Half of the fun of Pokémon battling stems from the amount of unpredictability a match can bring. You have to be ready to think on your feet and learn how to come up against many different and interesting strategies. And through that, you will find that you will be having a lot of fun. I have been in the competitive scene for four years and am still always finding new things and learning new approaches to a battle. Are you ready to be the very best?

In the next installment, we will learn the basics of team building.

Play Rust Better — Advice for Casual Rust Players.

If you’ve been playing Rust lately and you’re not one of the top players on your server, you may be getting a bit frustrated. The chat box seems to fill up with players who are really frustrated with the game. If you’re wondering “What’s the point of Rust? What’s the goal?”, read on and I’ll give you one (or more).

Run around aimlessly for a while to try and get your bearings of the game if you haven’t been playing for a while. Then when you’re ready, start building yourself a little base of operations and really playing the game.

Stone Node in Rust.

Stone nodes look like this and give stones, sulphur ore and metal ore.

1. Find an area with a few trees and some non-aggressive animals (pig or deer) nearby. Avoid areas with really big buildings nearby. Lay down a building of your own. I’d avoid using wood to build a shelter and just find one of the empty ones lying around. Put a wooden door on it and drop a storage crate inside. Also, if you have the cloth, lay a sleeping bag down real quick, so you re-spawn in your base (Sleeping bags and beds are your re-spawn point, don’t you know.). Since wooden doors are breakable, try not to stray too far from your base.

2. Keep near your base and gather wood from trees and wood piles, and stone and metal ore from stone nodes. Drop off the resources every few minutes in case someone comes along and kills you. I try to prioritize building a foundation, pillars, walls and a doorway, but if you happen to find an open foundation, even better. Build a house with a metal door as soon as possible. Avoid building windows even on higher floors because aggressive players will build staircases just to climb in and raid you. Focus on getting the 200 metal fragments needed for a metal door.

Bow hunting red animals in Rust.

Red wolves die in 2 arrows and the big red bears should go with 3 arrows.

Blueprint and Research Kit items in Rust

Blueprints (Left) and research kits (right) are your goals right away.

3. Chase an animal down with a rock or stone hatchet, if you haven’t already. Animals are not only your primary source of food; they also give you cloth, which you need to make your first ranged weapon: the hunting bow.

4. Make a hunting bow with cloth and wood, and a few arrows (around 20). Now, hunt some red animals — they drop backpacks — and read up on some blueprints. This is your main priority for now. Run back to your base when you get a few nice items and drop them off in case you get killed. Study all the blueprints you find on the spot.

Player Quatr0 took me out in no time flat with his M4.

Player Quatr0 took me out in no time flat with his M4.

6. Avoid people wearing a lot of clothing: like this friendly fella I met while he was playing with a few of his friends. If you play Rust already, you probably know almost every player is hyper-aggressive. If you get killed, do it all over again, but now with more crafting skills. (Quatr0 agreed to let me show his username.)

7. Once your run home with your new gear, and maybe a few research kits, drag the research kit onto an item you want to learn how to craft, like these sweet leather pants I found.

Craft LeatherPants in Rust

Sweet! Time to rock ‘n’ roll.

Since you’re building a skillset (craft recipes), dying and losing gear becomes less of an issue. The constant cycle of death and loss is taxing and is the biggest complaint people have about Rust. Even bases can be blown up, and you can be killed in your sleep (while logged out). This is actually what I like most about it: nothing is safe.