Jumping for (Nurse) joy — A recap of the 01/09/2020 Pokémon Direct

I’m quite certain most of us can agree that today was a good day to be a Pokémon fan, as today’s Pokémon Direct hit us with three very cool announcements.  The most prominent reveal was that of the Expansion Pass that will add 200+ Pokémon and two areas to your journey through the Galar Region.  Some gamers were a bit aggro about a duo of Pokémon games having paid DLC ($30 or otherwise), but I have confidence the content in said DLC will be worth the dinero.

But Sword & Shield were not the only stars of the show, as the Direct kicked off with the reveal of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX, which is a Switch remake of Pokémon Blue & Red Rescue Team.  This remake is due for release on March 6, and there is an eShop demo available now.

The Direct wrapped up with Pokémon Home being announced for a February release.  Home is a hub app that allows for transferring Pokémon from game to game, and that includes importing from Go to Sword & Shield.

We’re not even a full month into 2020, and it’s already looking like it’s gonna be a fantastic year for the mega-popular Pokémon franchise regardless of how controversial Sword & Shield seem to be.  From Switch games to mobile apps, 2020 will no doubt be a fun year to catch ’em all

Should You AD(D) This?: Johnny Trigger

Like most people, I’m on my phone a lot, and because of that, I like to find some fun (and most importantly: FREE) games off the Play Store to download to play when I want to pass some time.

I’ve found some real fun little games that I enjoy playing, such as: Governor of Poker 3, Pokemon GO, 2048, Plague, INC., and FLOW.

But, with free games comes the greatest agony of gaming off of a phone or tablet: ALL. OF. THE. *breathes in* AAAAAADDDDDSSSSS!!!!!!

Specifically, ads for other games.

But then I did some thinking, and I started to wonder: Would it be worth downloading some of these apps? Are these games worth the 5 to 30 second ads I have to sit through to go download and take up space on my phone and SD card?

Well, starting today, I’m going to find out.

So here’s how each review will work:

Title of game (with pic and developer info if and when possible)

Average rating on Play Store as well as best and worst review rating (Sorry, Apple users)

My personal review

Star rating, 1 thru 5, with either an “AD(D) THIS!” Or “IGNORE THIS!” suggestion.

So, with all of that out of the way. Let’s get to our first review, shall we?

Game: Johnny Trigger (developed by SayGames)

Average rating on Play Store: 4.5

Top positive review: 5⭐

Top critical review: 3⭐

My review:

A side-scrolling shooter that puts you in the shoes of what appears to be a top secret spy who’s goal is to take down some baddies and save some hostages with a wide array of guns that you work to purchase or can unlock through a gamble by selecting one of three cases (though, if you can sit through 3 different ads for about 30 seconds each, you can unlock all 3 cases). As you’re about to take out some bad guys, time slows down and an aim assist comes up and allows you to line up your shot and PEW. Fire away. But be careful. If you miss a target while in slowmo, or get a hostage killed, you’ll fail the level.

Fortunately, each level has 1 or 2 checkpoints you can reach as you progress, in case you do goof up, you won’t have to go all the way back to the beginning.

At your disposal throughout the game is 3 types of weapons: Pistols, submachine, and special. Each weapon has damage amount and ammo amount. The pistols shoot one shot per ammo slot, the submachine’s fire anywhere from 3-5 shots per slot, and the specials, from what I know as of writing this, fire one per slot.

Another thing you can unlock throughout the game is different skins for your character, and, I have to admit, is probably my favorite aspect of this game.

There’s several “Great Value” style skins to choose from, (Mario, Lara Craft, Britney Spears even, I think) but these two (Mandalorian and Daft Punk, respectively) are my personal favorites.

With 16 costumes (that I’ve unlocked anyways) there’s a character skin for just about any play style.

Next I want to talk about the level design, enemy design, and overall aesthetic.

If I could use two words to summarize these things, it’d be beautiful… and repetitive.

This is probably the only real low point for this game. Artistically, each stage is very pleasant to look at. However, after taking handfuls of levels to get through each stage (with 2 boss fights per stage) it can get old really quickly. You will also find that the amount of ways you do these levels loses it’s luster rather quickly. Once you get through the first few stages, the game just recycles levels. I get it though. I’m sure the developers have legit reasons for this, but it is annoying and once you’ve unlocked over 90% of collectables in the game, it makes you grind hard for the other 10% with no real satisfying payoff.

Aside from the “bosses” all the enemies are, for all intents and purposes, literally the exact same, appearance wise. So are the hostages. They aren’t bad, but, again, do become mind numbingly repetitive. When you first start playing you feel like with each completed stage you’re going to get new enemies and learn who you are as Johnny and why you’re doing what you’re doing, but you don’t. I can understand why they didn’t add more depth, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t express my disappointment about it.

All in all, since playing this game the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve really enjoyed it. Though it has its downsides its a fun, simple, and well designed game. If you’re looking for a good time waster, you need to download “Johnny Trigger.”

Rating: 4.5⭐

AD(D) THIS!

Thanks for reading my first game review. Let me know what you think of this game or if there’s anything I missed. I look forward to writing my next review. If you have any mobile game suggestions for me to review, leave a comment, or @ me on Twitter @TheRichieBuzz (no one has mentioned me in a tweet in like…3 years. It’d be nice to see a new mention notification)

For SSG, I’m Richie Bazurto.

Nintendo Announces the Nintendo Switch Lite Coming This Fall

Nintendo revealed the Nintendo Switch Lite this morning and a release of the mobile-focused console for September 20 this year.

The announcement video showcases the handheld-mode exclusive console and some of the features it will include. The new version comes in yellow, gray and turquoise, with the joy-cons integrated into the unit. The directional buttons will now be replaced by an actual d-pad and the kickstand on the back is gone.

The unit is smaller overall and will play exactly like the original console in handheld mode with a 720p screen resolution. And that’s it. This version doesn’t connect to the TV at all. Because the joy-cons are integrated the ir motion camera and hd rumble have been removed entirely. This means some games that require motion controls will force you to buy extra joy-cons if you don’t have them already.

The unit will launch at a price of $199.99 on September 20 which seems like a great price point for younger, casual or traveling gamers.

Personally I won’t be getting this despite the great price. I’ve always preferred gaming on a TV over a mobile device which this doesn’t support. So sadly I’ll just be waiting for the original Switch to lower its price, if it ever does. Oh and there’s a Pokemon Sword and Shield edition that looks pretty cool, check it out below.

Graveyard Keeper Digs Its Way To Switch, PS4 and Mobile

A new launch trailer for Graveyard Keeper announces the game’s release on Switch, PS4, and mobile.

The tinyBuild and Lazy Bear Games game has been on PC and Xbox One for a while but arrives on the new platforms today. It looks to be a more macabre Stardew Valley for those looking to bury bodies rather than seeds. The game promises the ability to manage a “historically inaccurate medieval cemetery” and the bodies entrusted to you. Ethical dilemmas, business alliances and witch-burning ceremonies are all ways to build yourself and your budding cemetery up.

I’ve never played the game myself and never had much of an interest in Stardew Valley, but as soon as I saw you could throw bodies in the river I was sold. I might just have to try my hand at graveyard keeping soon. In the meantime, check out our review of the PC version here.

Microsoft E3 2019

What will Microsoft be bringing for E3? Halo Infinite? A new console? Some new exclusives? Being one of the only major game studios to make E3 this year they have a lot  of pressure to bring it. So will they?

The presentation opens with a game trailer. Looks to be Obsidian’s Outer Worlds and the long awaited release date. October 25, 2019. Lots of dialogue and fun outer space shenanigans.

Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Sesua’s Sacrifice), recently purchased by Microsoft, revealing Bleeding Edge. I am getting a sort of Sunset Overdrive/punk feel for the game. Technical Alpha for the game starts June 27.

Next up, looks like a new Ori and the Blind Forest game. Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Feb 11 2020.

From the creators of Minecraft (the less controversial creators anyway) Minecraft Dungeons which will be coming in Spring 2020 along with 4 player local and online coop.

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, taking the stage. Phil has always been a man who talks about gamers and since he took over Xbox a few years ago, he has shifted the direction of the company to make Xbox more welcome to gamers of any kind. 60 games will be shown during the presentation, along with some detail on the the Cloud and Project Scarlett, Xbox’s new console.

EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer follows. Uncharted meets lightsabers. I am so down.

Trailer for a horror game. Remnants of Alan Wake? Definitely getting an Alan Wake vibe with this one, the flashlight, the monsters. But no. It’s the Blair Witch. Coming August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077 with a pretty groovy cinematic trailer showing us a scene that is gory and ends with a nice surprise. Keanu Reeves is in this game. And Keanu Reeves is on the stage to give us the release date for the game. April 16, 2020.

Spiritfarer A cutesy building and adventure game. One that will be available via Game Pass on Day One.

Battletoads! Comes with a very cartoony style that I dig and of course 3 player couch coop. No word on release date yet.

The Legend of Wright. I am not sure what this game is, it could be absolutely brilliant or absolutely awful. My interest is piqued and it certainly looks like the most original game I have seen in some time.

Sarah Bond, head of Xbox Partnerships. All ID games show up on Game Pass on Day One. Arkham Knight, Metro Exodus, Hollow Knight, and The Borderlands: Handsome Collection come to the Game Pass today. She also touched on a few of the games that will be available for the PC Game Pass. Over 100 games at launch, including Imperator Rome, Football Manager 2019, and the Master Chief Collection, starting with Halo Reach. The beta for Game Pass starts today.

Next she brought up Game Pass Ultimate. Console Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Live for 14.99 a month. And if you sign up today. it is ONE DOLLAR. And that will upgrade your membership for however much time you have left on your Live service. (Side note: Several new games were released on Game Pass today: Thimbleweed Park, Guacamelee 2, Shenmue 1 & 2, Bridge Constructor Portal, and much more.)

World premier trailer. Powered by Satellite data and Azure AI Microsoft Flight Simulator is back. This title was huge on PC and now it is getting a modern revamp and will be available on PC and console.

Not a surprising announcement but Age of Empires II Definitive, fully remastered in 4k with new quest lines. Fall.  PC

Wacky trailer up next. As Colorado and Colorado Springs are mentioned almost 130,000 times, I can only assume the state had a hand in the game. It’s a trailer for Wasteland 3. A series… I have yet to play.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Games Studio. Talking about the studios Microsoft purchased. He introduces Tim Schafer the head of Double Fine Productions (Brutal Legend, Broken Age, PsychoNauts) Tim Schaefer introduces us to PsychoNauts 2.

World Premier: Star Wars. Lego The Skywalker Saga All nine films one game. It does not look like they are retreadeding the old games and that this is all new, but I could be mistaken.

Dragonball Project Z RPG.

World Premier. 12 Minutes. This game looks fantastically interesting. A man is caught in a time loop. Interesting premise. Hopefully find out more soon.

Way to the Woods. You play a deer with a younger deer and wander through subways and stuff. It looks cute.

Gears of War 5 trailer with the best eyebrow lift I have seen in gaming. The game arrives on September 10th, but you can play four days early by preordering or being a member of Game Pass. There is a stress test on July 17th for multiplayer. And if you preorder or play during the first week you will get a Terminator: Dark Fate character pack.

New Elite Controller Series 2. More elite-er and probably more expensive than I could afford, but it does look very bad ass.

Dying Light 2. Spring 2020

World Premier. Lego Speed Champions expansion for Forza Horizon 4. I just got “Everything is Awesome” out of my head… annnnnnd now it’s back.

Pop Funko and Gear have joined up for a mobile game. No, I’m serious.

State of Decay 2 Heartland. New expansion to the game available today to owners of the game or Game Pass subscribers. Appears to have some branching story paths.

World Premier. Japan’s biggest MMO coming to Xbox with cross play. Phantasy Star Online 2.

Crossfire X, a PC legend, according to Microsoft will be coming to Xbox in 2020.

World Premier. Tales of Arise trailer and 2020 release date.

Followed by a Borderlands 3 trailer.

World Premier. Miyazaki and Martin. Two names that have me curious as hell about this game. Elden Ring.

And finally, Phil Spencer is onstage to talk about the next console. It will be 4 times more powerful than the Xbox One X, with a focus on smaller loading times and will come with a Solid State Drive. It launches in Holiday of 2020 and it launches with Halo Infinite.

So that was Microsoft E3 2019, what did you all think? Anything you are jonesing for? For this writer I am looking forward to Outer Worlds, 12 Minutes, Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077. It is a good time to be a gamer.

The Pokémon Company reveals new apps, services, and devices!

Dreaming of becoming a Pokémon master? This is your time!

The Pokémon company revealed a new mobile game, Pokémon Masters. The game will bring back favorite Pokémon trainers we have battled in the past and lets players battle them on mobile.

The gameplay trailer shows a 3v3 battle between enemy trainers and the player teaming up with Misty and Brock. Looking at the player characters Pikachu seems fairly similar to the original Pokémon games, having two current moves and two more empty ones to learn in the future. Also, in-between matches players can interact with some of their favorite characters.

What if you could continue training your Pokémon even in your sleep?

Pokémon Sleep will use the new device also announced called the Pokémon Go Plus Plus. This unusual new project hopes to turn sleep into entertainment. Coming sometime in 2020, Pokémon sleep will watch users’ sleep patterns and reward them for time spent sleeping, wanting players to look forward to waking up in the morning. Connecting to mobile devices via Bluetooth, Pokémon Go Plus Plus sends information about how long you sleep to the Pokémon Sleep app.

Welcome home, Trainers.

Pokémon Home is a cloud service that will work with Nintendo Switch and mobile devices, allowing you to bring over the Pokémon that you’ve shared adventures with throughout your journey. While the Nintendo 3DS version, Pokémon Bank, lets players store Pokémon on 3DS, Pokémon Home will let players transfer Pokémon from other devices as well. The app will be usable through mobile devices and allows trainers to trade with each other locally and globally. Pokémon will be transferable from Pokémon GoPokémon BankLet’s Go, Pikachu!Let’s Go, Eevee!, and Pokémon Sword and Shield. Coming in early 2020!

Gwent Coming to Mobile and New Expansion Coming Soon

Gwent, the incredibly addictive CCG (Collectible Card Game) based on a mini game that was one of the best parts of the award winning Witcher 3, will be coming to smartphones later this year. The game will be arriving on iPhones first with an Android version in the works.

“We’ve been preparing long and hard to adapt GWENT to smartphones,” said Jason Slama, Game Director of GWENT: The Witcher Card Game, CD PROJEKT RED. “Beautiful visuals aside, we’ve tailored much of our technology, including GOG Galaxy which powers GWENT’s multiplayer, to support mobile devices. I think our vision for bringing GWENT to smartphones combines the best we have to offer both in terms of graphics and gameplay. I can’t wait to share more details on the subject with you later this year.”

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In addition to bringing Gwent to a bigger audience, the PC, PS4, and Xbox One version of the game will be receiving a new expansion tomorrow, the 28th of March. Crimson Curse adds 100 new cards, most of which detail new abilities and game mechanics. 5 new leader cards will also be introduced, some from the series and a few new to the expansion.Watch the trailer for the expansion here.

The expansion comes out tomorrow, but if you preorder beforehand, there is a deal available. The Pre-order Pack contains 40 Crimson Curse Kegs at a special discounted price, the Blood Armor legendary leader skin for Unseen Elder, as well as an animated Crimson Curse cardback. The offer will expire upon the expansion’s launch. Details on the preorder can be found here.

You can learn more about the expansion at the official website.