3DS Price Drop is Coming

This is all over the internet by now, but I thought I would go ahead and make an informational posting here as well. As the title states, starting August 12th the 3DS’s price will be dropped to $169.99. So if you haven’t bought a 3DS yet, it may be a good idea to wait a couple weeks. However if you are like me and you already went out and bought yourself a 3DS, don’t despair! Nintendo has of course recognized that us early adopters are probably their most loyal of fans, so they have a little something for us as well.

So here’s the deal, if you already own a 3DS, be sure that you log into the eShop before midnight on August 11th, because anyone who has logged into the eShop before that date will be treated to a selection of free downloadable games. Most of us should have already done this since there is the free Pokedex 3D to be had and also the new Nintendo Video feature. If you haven’t, well then you better get your butt in there! When you log into the eShop, your account will be recognized as an “Ambassador”. With your Ambassador status, starting September 1st there will be a selection of Nintendo games available for free for you to download. By the end of 2011 there will be a total of 20 free games available to you, and the titles are no slouches either.

If you want the full details of this offer, you can read the full press release on the Nintendo site here:

http://www.nintendo.com/corp/nintendo3ds/news/

Happy gaming!

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Five Upcoming 3DS Titles Worth Watching

I realize I haven’t been blogging about any games in quite a while, which is mostly due to the fact that I no longer have the free time I once had, and also partly due to the fact that my interest in the game market had waned a little. However I recently decided to purchase a 3DS this summer since there will be a bevy of games coming out starting this fall and well on into the future that I know I must play. My rationale for buying the 3DS this summer is that with the titles that will be released this coming holiday season, it will be impossible to find a 3DS this holiday season without camping some random Target or Walmart. Also Target helped sweeten the deal by offering $25 gift cards with a 3DS purchase last week, so naturally I took the bait. I have to say that so far I’m really impressed by the 3D image quality, especially in the free downloadable Pokedex from the shop channel. Just from enjoying the bundled software for the 3DS, it has me really excited for new games with these plushy graphics, not to mention the fact that the camera technology can add a really interesting dimension to gaming, so I am interested to see what other game developers may do with it.

Animal Crossing 3DS
Enough chatter about the 3DS itself, it’s time to talk games, and first up I want to talk about Animal Crossing 3DS. The game was shown off at this past E3 (2011), but it was just an unplayable movie demo of game footage which had led to much pessimism over a timely release date. On the bright side though, we do know that it is definitely coming, and Nintendo has a page dedicated to it that was posted during E3. You can check out this page, which has both video footage and screenshots of the upcoming game:

http://e3src.nintendo.com/games/detail/#/3ds/animalcrossing

What we can glean so far from the information given and things speculated on by watching the videos is that you will be able to be mayor of your town, and you will have a secretary who presumably will help you accomplish certain tasks, as that is generally what secretaries do. Player characters are now taller and we can see the bottom half of their body better, and there has been indication that you will have pants and skirts along with your tops. Also clearly visible on the video footage is that your character can now don a wetsuit and go swimming and diving underwater presumably to scavenge for things. :) Aside from this there is also that suspicious box in the center of a flower garden that many speculate is a type of bee skep. Can we entice bees into producing honey for us now? Only time will tell, but with each little pebble of something new I see I become more hopeful for an early arrival of this game! Of course if you have kept track of this blog at all in the past you know that I am an avid Animal Crossing fan, and this game will be a must have for my collection….and it was also partly responsible for my haste to purchase the system this summer.

Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns 3D
The next game I want to mention is Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns. This game will be released both on the 3DS as well as the original DS. A bonafide set in stone release date hasn’t really been set yet, but I would not find it unreasonable to expect this game by the end of summer. Currently the speculated release date is September 13th, but anyone with experience in waiting for a game from Natsume knows that setting back release dates is kind of a religion for them. ;) It would be excellent to have this game in September, but it wouldn’t kill me to wait for October.

So, you may be wondering what will be different between the 3DS version and the regular DS version, and there are a couple things that have been confirmed by E3 convention goers, one of which is the addition of an animal petting game and the other is the ability to streetpass to exchange/share crops and such. Could there be more differences than that, sure there could be since game developers don’t usually like to provide complete spoilers, but that could also be the only difference as well. Either way I will be purchasing the 3DS version since I’m lovin’ the 3D and I want as much extra Harvest Mooning as possible, lol. XD

I think I wrote about this game before, so I won’t go into much game play specifics, but here is an overview. You will be able to choose between living in two different rival towns, one of which focuses on crops and the other which focuses on ranching. You are of course free to move to the opposing town during the game, and overall the story goal is to get the two towns to be friendly again and open up the tunnel the links them. Aside from these goals are of course your personal farming and marriage goals, but there will also be a quest system in which you can take odd jobs from villagers to improve your relationship with them. This game will also have “reverse proposals” in which the guy can propose to you, instead of you being the one to put in all of the effort. ;) E3 footage of the game also gave more information about the wilderness area between the two towns, which can be used for scavenging and encountering wild animals, some of which may be hostile and could harm you! The developers say that this will be the largest area of wilderness yet in an HM game, so we can hope for a lot of things to do!

Luigi’s Mansion 2
Another game to keep an eye out for is Luigi’s Mansion 2, which probably won’t be released until early next year. I remember playing the first Luigi’s mansion, which was incredibly fun, so I am definitely looking forward to this title. Along with improved graphics, you are going to have not only 1 house to bust ghosts in, but several! Of course from gameplay trailers it looks like the basics of the game are still intact, you adventure through a haunted house sucking up Boos and such with your trusty vacuum of doom. You can check out the game trailers and screenshots at the official Nintendo site here:

http://e3src.nintendo.com/games/detail/#/3ds/luigismansion

I should also mention that if you own a 3DS you can download the same trailer for free from the 3DS shop and view the footage in it’s full 3D glory, and I do seriously mean that. The depth and space created with the 3D effect is fabulous for this game and overall the graphics are quite a bit better than the original Gamecube game.

Fantasy Life
When I stumbled upon the scant amount of information for this game I became instantly excited. Here is a game where it appears you make your own custom character, which looks like it’s kind of on the same level of customization you find in the Mii Maker. The trailer shows you adjusting the height and face shape of your character, so I’m imagining/hoping you’ll be able to choose hairstyles, eyes and more.

So, with this custom character you embark on a casual RPG/life simulation game that starts in an endearing little town. The graphics have a little bit of a Professor Layton flavour, which is nice since I fully enjoyed the Layton games and the sort of whimsy the art provides. Anyhow if you watch the game trailer closely you will see a few in game activities that can be had, such as fishing, farming, adventuring, magic and more, all depending on which of 20 jobs you decide to take. On top of this it looks like the game is also going to utilize network gameplay so hopefully there will be the opportunity to streetpass and such. Finally, as if things couldn’t get any better, the game will also have Yoshitaka Amano doing the character illustrations and Nobuo Uematsu creating the music!

The only bad thing about this game is that it’s not even out yet in Japan, which of course means a looong wait for us in the states…so sad. (ToT) However it seems to me that LEVEL-5 isn’t as slow as other game companies in getting games translated for the North American Market…or at least as not as slow at Natsume, blargh. XP So hopefully we can expect it within a year of it’s release in Japan. Anyhow, here is the link to the official Japanese site if you’d like to keep track of the game: http://www.level5.co.jp/products/fantasylife/

Also here is the link to the awesome little trailer that should make you starry eyed like me if you love this kind of stuff!http://youtu.be/gdNiuvuypH4

Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle
With a possible release for sometime in the fall or holiday season of this year, this title is another that you can look forward to sooner rather than later. Again, as in all Layton games, the professor and his sidekick Luke go around town and solve puzzles to figure out the greater mystery of the game. I haven’t read too much about this game to be honest, but it’s Professor Layton, a series I have come to love and trust, so really you can count me in as a buyer without even knowing much about the game ^^;. It will of course be interesting to see how the 3D pans out for this game. The game trailer I’ve seen so far shows an interesting 3D puzzle and more depth being given to the scenery without loosing the wonderful and whimsical 2D drawings that these games are known for. So, without further ado, here is the link to the Layton and the Mask of Miracle trailer: http://youtu.be/RTKVHaXCh4A

So far those are the five titles I am keeping an eye out for, but of course with a little more research and time to blog, I’m sure I could expand on this list. ;)

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Rune Factory Oceans

To be honest, after trying out the first Rune Factory game, I didn’t really give much of a hoot for the series, mainly because you couldn’t play as a girl and woo bachelors. After finally being able to play as a girl in Harvest Moon, I just haven’t been able to go back to playing the other side. Guys really don’t know how lucky they are to always be able to play their own gender in most everything. :p Anyway I digress…. Now, just because I didn’t play any of the others beyond the first one doesn’t mean I haven’t been interested in the series. I’ve always thought that the character designs were beautiful, and the idea of battling monsters AND farming has always been appealing. Really it was just the one hang up of not being able to play my own gender that held me back from the games.

Well…..it appears now the day has finally come where I will no longer have to hold back!! It’s true, you can play as both a girl and boy in this newest installment of Rune Factory! Of course 100% of the details are not known at the moment seeing as it’s not due out in Japan until February 2011, but I imagine as we get closer to the launch date we will find out more info. As it stands now, you can play as Azel or Sonia, and apparently you get to switch back and forth between the two in the beginning of the game. Rumor has it though that eventually around midway through the game you have to choose which character you want to play for the rest of the game…..though I figure that is mostly speculation at this point.


The good news is that there are heroes, aka marriageable bachelors for Sonia. Currently only two heroes are listed on the official site, those being James and Joe. However there appears to be at least one more hero for Sonia to woo who made a brief appearance in the trailer, and in this screenshot from Famitsu on the right. He appears to be a brunette with glasses for all of you who have glasses moe. ;) So far though, the official site seems to mainly be focusing on Azel and his dating and marriage candidates, which is a little disappointing. Hopefully more of Sonia’s screenshots will be posted in the future.

Anyhow, overall the game looks gorgeous and the battle system seems way better than previous incarnations of this series. The game with be out February 24th in Japan, so by then we should know a lot more. I figure that this game will be easily be picked up for the North American market since the other Rune Factories have been, and rather quickly at that….well at least faster than some Harvest Moon games. Another nice thing of note is that this will be coming out for both the Wii and the PS3, which is nice for me since I only have a Wii.

Here is the link to the official site so you can continue to watch for new info:
http://www.mmv.co.jp/special/game/runeoceans/

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Registering for Minna de Bokujou Monogatari

I thought I would make a little translated tutorial of sorts to help those who would like to try out the Japanese online Harvest Moon game. This is just to help you get through the registration process so you can start playing. I haven’t included any translations on the quests, but hopefully you can bumble your way through that yourself. I might post quest translations in the future, but I need to get myself back into gear and back to work after having a spell of the holiday lazies. If you truly need help with something, you can probably post a link to a clear screenshot of the quest details and I may be able to help you…no guarantees though, and I’d prefer that you’d only ask if you are really really stuck, cause I’m a busy girl! Now, onto the login translations/tutorial!

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Minna de Bokujou Monogatari – An Online Harvest Moon

I just recently discovered that there was a free, online version of Harvest Moon available to play at the Marvelous Entertainment’s Bokumono site. The site and game are of course in Japanese and you will need to register through Moog in order to play, but it is quite easy to do so if you know your Japanese. If you do not know any Japanese, then things will be a little more difficult. ^^; However you can always cut and paste the registration pages’ text into an online translator to help you out.

Once you register, you can start playing right away. :) In Minna de Bokujou Monogatari, you are basically going to be taking quests and doing farming using the harvest sprites. This game is really very much like Zynga’s Frontierville in game mechanics, but it has that decided Harvest Moon flair. I really hate to say it, but currently it’s looking like just another social farming sim. Of course for the Harvest Moon lover it’s always nice to get you fix with new games and material. Right now I’ve just been completing what appears to be some newbie quests. The game is really not a difficult read if you have a couple years of Japanese language knowledge under your belt. If you don’t know any Japanese, you may find things a little more difficult, as you really need to be able to read your quest requirements. There is a decent amount of kanji in this game as well, so for the non-speaker you are probably going to have to have a good dictionary like denshi jisho at the ready if you want to make it through.

Here is the link to the main site:
http://pc.bokumono.com/

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Chocobo’s Crystal Tower – Dungeon Basics

As I promised in my last posting, here is some basic info on dungeons in CCT that you can add to what you already know from the tutorial. So, after you decide to send your chocobo into a dungeon you will head to the map. As a beginner, there are only a few areas available to you. For the most part you are going to be using the Stone Step nearly exclusively until you get your chocobo up to having AT LEAST one full star in every stat and stamina. Sure it sounds nice to be able to send them into the Brick Cairn for 6 hours and leaving them, BUT you will have to closely babysit them otherwise you will return 20 minutes later to a passed out chocobo.

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Chocobo’s Crystal Tower – Ranching Basics

This little pseudo tutorial thing is meant to supplement what you already do in the tutorial quests when you start the game. The information here is just to enhance that and add some new points that they don’t really discuss in the tutorial. Anyway, on with the show now. In the above picture you can see my oldest chocobo “Boboko”. I’ve labeled a few key areas in the screenshot to make it easier to find what I am about to talk about, those aren’t the official labels or anything, but just what I call them.

So first of all up at the top left is your breeder name, which you can change at any time by clicking the pencil icon. Immediately next to that is your Breeder Rank, and following that are your gil, special points and feather amounts. It will pay for you to keep track of your feather amounts since they are very crucial to creating new nests. Now, down below you will see an area that I call the “Status Bar”. In this area you see your Chocobo’s name and how many hours he/she has left until their retirement. Next to that is the “Feed Gauge” for lack of better term, and then the luck gauge. The feed gauge obviously fills when you feed your chocobo food. By feeding your chocobo you help raise his/her stats and also help prepare them for the dungeon. The luck gauge only fills when you apply or remove feathers from your chocobo. As it is, you can only apply feather’s to your neighbor’s chocobos, not your own. You can however remove any feathers that have been placed, including feather’s on your neighbor’s chocobos. Now here is some key information, every time you place and remove feathers, those feathers are expended! That means they go poof and they disappear forever! Therefore the usefulness of adding luck to your chocobos is negotiable. Since feathers are so important for nest building, it may be best not to waste them on luck. As it stands, the placement and removal of one feather will only give your chocobo 15 luck, which isn’t enough really to tell if it gives you better treasure finding ratios in the dungeon or what have you. I am feather poor at the moment, so I’m not in the mood to find out. I will also make note here that every time you leave a dungeon your chocobo is fully dirty an therefore at least loses 15 points of luck…so yeah exchanging feathers sounds less tasty now doesn’t it?

Moving along now, below the “Status Bar” I have labeled the icon area below the “Tool Kit” and the “Stats n’ That” sections. I’m going to start with the toolkit area first. The first icon in the toolkit is the gate to go to the dungeon, but were not going to worry about dungeoneering right now. Next is the shop, where you go buy food and armor, and finally your feed bag/item bag. In the middle there are icons for brushing, removing feathers and breeding, all of which were explained in the tutorial. Breeding could use a more in depth guide, but we’ll save that for later. What is most important here though is in the stat’s n’ that section. The little chocobo head icon will take you to your chocobo’s stats, which are of course important to look at since this is a stat raising/breeding game!

The above screenshot is what you will see after you click the chocobo head icon to review your chocobo’s stats. Starting at the top, it is important to note that you can change your Chocobo’s randomly generated name by clicking the pencil icon. Below the name and birthday/type section you have your stats. Boboko is my second chocobo, which was auto-given to me in the game after you are made to retire your very first chocobo. Usually a chocobo who hasn’t been leveled up at all will have up to one star in any given stat, but should at least have a half star in every stat. Obviously I’ve been working on Boboko for a while and raising his stats. Now, you may notice that underneath the star rankings in the stats, there is a little bar. When that bar fills up completely, you will gain a half star and the bar will return to zero. You fill bars by giving your chocobo food, AND different types of gysahl greens and other foods will raise different stats.

You can discover what stats each type of food will raise by moving your cursor over the desired food. Here you can see that the red gysahl green will raise the strength stat. There are a few foods that will raise all of the stats, but usually they are quite nominal, and really only good for kind of topping off your chocobo’s feed bar. Two types of food right off that bat that raise everything are white gysahl, and turnips. Now I also want you to realize, that raising stats through feeding is VERY SLOW. Don’t expect to see big changes immediately. I’ve had Boboko now for almost half of his lifespan before retirement, and I’ve just now managed to get every stat to have one full star in it. This is why breeding becomes important, so you can breed your chocobo with your neighbor’s chocobo and thus try to preserve some of your hard work. I will get into breeding in another post as I still have a few more investigations to do, and this post has become rather long. I will also cover the basics of sending your chocobos adventuring in another post as well. One last important thing to note about feeding and stat raising is that foods that are the same color as your chocobo will raise their stats a little faster, therefore it may pay to not aim for a fully rounded chocobo, but instead raise the stat they are best in the most and then cross breed with a different chocobo to get a youth with better stats.

Well, hopefully this has helped you understand your stats a little better and has put you on the path to better breeding! Have fun!

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Square-Enix’s First Foray into Facebook Games

Usually over the holidays, I give myself extra lazy time as I figure it’s my “vacation” of sorts. With this extra time, I used it to check out some new social games on Facebook. I was surprised to find that Square-Enix has suddenly decided to join the ranks. Currently they offer two games on Facebook, those being Knights of the Crystals and Chocobo’s Crystal Tower. The above screencap is of Chocobo’s Crystal Tower as you can imagine, but I figure I will start off giving an overview of what I find to be the weaker game, which is Knights of the Crystals unfortunately.

Knights of the Crystals is set up a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics in terms of class systems and taking quests to level up your hero, but that is where the similarities end. When you do battle during your quest, it’s pretty much a matter of clicking a button to enter an encounter, and your success rate is determined by your stats. The game has made it fairly easy for you though to have success every time, as certain things can only be unlocked according to level, or by items in your inventory. In this way, battle is a lot like the really early versions of Dragon Quest, where you go out in the field and suddenly encounter a slime and are told your outcome. All in all it is rather boring, which is disappointing because it seems that with a little more effort they could have something a little more engaging. Boss battles on the other hand are entirely different. During a boss battle you chose two party members from your guild and go fight the boss traditional turn based RPG style, albeit in a flat 2D paper kind of way. Just like in your traditional RPG you select your allies actions, fight, use magic, use item and so on.

Everything you do in Knights of the Crystals takes AP power, which is basically your energy bar, and once you run out you have to wait for it to recharge, or ask your friend for a power pack. You can only use a power pack once every 12 hours or so however. Of course you always have the option to pay real money for more AP, of which you are reminded of frequently. This kind of thing though is run of the mill for all social games, BUT what comes next is not. In your travels you will come to entire quest areas that require special items for you to quest there. These special items of course you have to purchase with real money using their special coins, and are not available to purchase with in game gil. Occasionally though when completing treasure collections or achieving goals you may be given one as a prize, but it is not enough for you to really partake of the additional quests. For me, I find that entirely aggravating, now granted I realize games like Treasure Isle have unlockable lands with their special cash, BUT they give you the opportunity to gain cash, albeit very little. Square-Enix’s games do not give you the opportunity to gain any of their special coins. In my opinion, there is a line you cross where you can take away too much of the game to whereas the non-paying player is really only getting a sample of what they want you to pay for. A good social game will offer a free game to everyone, and have additional bonus things you can get by paying real money that adds to the game, but doesn’t detract from the non-paying players gaming experience. A good example of this would be Pet Society where all of the mechanics of the game, all of the mini games and etc… are available to all players, but specialty items can be purchased with real money, all of which are not necessary to the enjoyment of the game. Not to make Playfish out to be saintly or anything, because I have my own irritation with them, but we will not go there….at least right now. ;)

Ok, so last but not least is Chocobo’s Crystal Tower (CCT), a game which I found infinitely more fun than Knights of the Crystals, but also much more confusing. In CCT, you take on the role of a Chocobo rancher, breeding and raising Chocobo’s to go into dungeon towers and scout out treasures for you. Those of you who played FF7, you will find a heaping helping of nostalgia in this game, as the theme music for the ranch is the old Chocobo ranch in 7 and then of course there is the whole Chocobo breeding and ranching thing. ;) Though unlike the very simplified version of Chocobo ranching in 7, this game is a little more complex. CCT involves a lot of stat raising, of both your breeder stats and your chocobo’s stats. Stat raising for your chocobo is mainly confined to feedings, and his/her adventuring in dungeons. You on the other hand get stats for doing just about everything for your chocobos and even your neighbor’s chocobos. I don’t want to get too in depth with it here, as I plan to make a separate posting about some of the details of ranching later to help out the newcomers to the game. Unfortunately CCT doesn’t have the best of game guides and the in game tutorial, whereas helpful, by no means covers everything, and can be a little dense at times.

I’ll leave off here now, but you can look for a more in depth overview of the gameplay of Chocobo’s Crystal Tower in the near future!

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Atelier Annie – Getting Started & Your First Assignment

So, the first thing I noticed about Atelier Annie was that the tutorial assignment and the explanations left a little bit to be desired, so I thought I would share my advice. This is all coming from someone who hasn’t played an Atelier game yet, so seasoned veterans will have some “well duh!” moments I’m sure….but then again this is not for seasoned veterans.

After you’ve finished the whirlwind tutorial mode making your shop sign, you are going to be given your first real contest assignment, which is to make a map of the island. The sooner you get this done and turn it in the better, since you you want to try to get the best ranking, and also the sooner you get it done the more free time you will have to prepare yourself for the next contest. Anyway, when you are given the job and recipe you are told to look it over, and so I thought naturally I will go to my items and look at the scroll with the contest task on it to see all the particulars. Sounds logical right? Well wrong, the recipe isn’t there, just a rehash of the task at hand. In the end, after much bumbling, I finally found out that in order to view any recipes, you must go up to your cauldron like you want to synthesize something and review the recipes there, and then back out when you don’t want to make anything.

The recipe for the Island map is simple, it’s woodchips, pure water and magical weed, all of which you can gather at the Basin. Before hauling yourself off to the basin to gather however, you will want to collect some party members first because there will be monsters. At this point I think you may only have Hans and Gillian available to you, both of whom you can pick up at the Committee HQ. All you have to do is talk to them and then ask them to join your party. You really don’t need to concern yourself with outfitting everyone with new weapons or armor at this point, but you could buy Hans a short sword and then pass off his old wooden staff to Annie to improve both of their attacks. It’s not necessary though, and totally up to you.

Once you have your party together, just head to the basin. You will notice that it takes time to travel there, which is why it is important to be mindful of all your tasks! Anyway once you are at the Basin, Annie’s sprite will show up on the map and you will have three areas with little question mark bubbles over them. Those are the gathering points, all other sections of the map don’t matter. Now I didn’t realize this at first, but you don’t just get one item from a gathering point, and you don’t have to switch off between spots either. Just head for the nearest spot and button mash until you clear out the whole lot. Wandering around on the gathering map also takes time, so you want to be as fast as possible. Once you clear out one area, go to the next spawn point, and again button mash until you clean out all areas. When I first gathered items I didn’t really know what I was doing so I bumbled around a bit and wound up taking 22 days to gather items! Really you shouldn’t have any trouble clearing out all of the basin gathering spots and returning in about a week.

Now that you’ve gathered everything at the basin, it’s time to head back and synthesize. Maybe I’m dumb, but it took me a few to realize that pure water was something you had to synthesize. You will find that you already have the recipe for pure water thanks to your Alchemy 101 book given to you by Pepe, which you can find under the medicine category. Pure water only requires “pure spring” which you should have gathered at the basin by the water’s edge. You can make up to 10 pure water during a days work, so you may as well make 10 pure water, because you will need pure water for lots of other things later. Before you synthesize anything though, be sure to save, because you do have the possibility of failing. After you get your pure waters, go ahead and save again and synthesize your map and turn it in. If you didn’t dally and get the map to Hans within a couple weeks you should be able to obtain the gold prize.

After turning in your assignment, you now have until October 1st to prepare yourself for the next assignment and also work on your first resort building. Again the in game information on resorts is kind of slim, so here’s my advice. Talk to Pepe to manage anything related to resorts. You can also hire “clerks” now to run your shop and resorts, BUT you can only hire one at a time. I don’t know if it was just me, but the game made it sound like you could hire multiple clerks and assign them to different resort attractions, which is not the case. I chose to have Fitz as my store clerk because she was the next NPC that I had unlocked, but you can chose whoever you like. Any NPC that you chose to clerk for you will gain friendship towards you, especially if you just let them do as they like without any orders. Anyway back to the resorts…. I am going to suggest the Park as a good starting resort site, because the jobs you will pick up to improve your park are easy for you to fulfill, as your first few jobs will be to collect flowers, plants, pure waters and eventually athena water. You can also get the mascot very easily for the Park by visiting the Quarry. The mascot will also be able to collect goods from the quarry for you, which will come in handy later.

The next assignment handed out on Oct 1 will be to make 10 red knight’s spears, so if you want to prepare for that you can go ahead and collect 10 black clay from the quarry to synthesize into dark clods. You’ll also want to collect 10 red popeye fish from the basin and synthesize them into red supplements #4, and also have 10 pure waters on hand. All of those items will be required for the next recipe as well as 10 Knight’s spears, which will cost you 6,000 cole, so be sure to have that amount on hand. Beyond that just gather as much as you can, take as many easy guild jobs as you can to make money, and work towards improving your first resort attraction. One easy way to make a lot of money via guild jobs is to go to the basin to gather where you can get Ionofish and common shells, both of which give you a nice reward!

Well, I think I will stop here for now. If I have time I will post some tips for the second assignment later!

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Atelier Annie – An Overview

I got Atelier Annie for Christmas this year. It was a game that I had been interested in and wanting for a while, but I would always forget about it, or it would be on a wishlist but nobody got it, that kind of thing. So finally after a couple years I actually got it, lol. ^^; I have always been interested in the Atelier games series, but the majority of the games have been on systems I don’t own, or were never imported. The idea of running a shop, gathering materials while adventuring and coming back to perform alchemy on them has always seemed like a fun combo, and I was right! I am totally enjoying the game. This game has some of the elements of the visual novel genre in it too, for those of you who are interested in those kinds of games. Throughout your adventures and crafting you will come across numerous scenes with your friend characters or townspeople, all of which play out very much like a visual novel, except in Annie, most of the scenes are of humorous nature. You also build relationships with people the more you adventure with them, or are successful in completing their requests and so on. So if you like RPG elements, enjoy time management games, and like visual novels, then this is for you!

The story behind Atelier Annie is that Annie is a lazy lazy girl, so she is carted off in her bed to a new island where there is an Alchemy competition going on to help grow the resort town. You are of course entered into the alchemist competition despite the fact that you have never done any alchemy whatsoever. Of course you have a bossy fairy that is there to train you as a favor to your grandfather who is a famous alchemist (which is why you were allowed in the competition in the first place). In the beginning Annie doesn’t want to have anything to do with alchemy, but as soon as it’s announced that the winner of the competition gets to become engaged to the kingdom’s Prince, she suddenly changes her tune as her big dream is to “marry up”.

In this game you will basically be given a series of competition tasks. Your first task, which is the tutorial will be to create a sign for your shop. After that, your second task, and the first real task of the competition will be to synthesize a map of the island. You will be given a generous time limit and the recipe to create the map as well. At this point your main goal will be to adventure out to gather materials to synthesize for your map. You actually get several months to complete the task, which is good, because everything you do in this game takes time. Traveling to gathering spots takes time, gathering itself takes time, and of course synthesizing materials also takes time. The only thing that does not take time is walking around town to talk with merchants, visit shops and get your adventuring party together. Basically everything in town is not timed, except the alchemy you do in your workshop.

With the time aspect in mind, you will want to complete you contest tasks as soon as possible, because the sooner you get it done and turn it in, the greater score you will receive, and of course, the greater the score you receive, the greater is your contest reward. Don’t get too excited though once you see your contest reward money though, because all of the money you make for the contest goes into a “resort management fund”. This is where you begin to decide what sort of resort buildings you want to create on the island. In a way, you kind of get to make your own little resort town, though there isn’t much to town building, so don’t get too excited….it’s not like sim city or anything. All of the resorts you place though will make revenue for you, which you can use to upgrade your existing resort buildings or purchase new ones.

You may be wondering now how you make money in the game, and well, that is to take up gathering/alchemy jobs from the adventurers guild. In the beginning most of the jobs are for gathering simple items, but be careful and don’t use important materials you need for the contest to complete jobs! The more jobs you complete, your fame will go up and your shop will begin to profit. You will also be able to take jobs from your resort managers who will give you non-monetary compensation for your work, and those jobs will result in fame for your resort buildings. Fame is important of course because it will drive more customers to you, which translates into more resort building money for you.

So that pretty much summarizes gameplay, though there are numerous tips and advice I can share, but I will save that for another posting. All in all I am going to put this on a must have list for girly gamers. Seasoned RPGers will find the blend of adventuring and alchemy to be a refreshing change, and there is plenty of friendship building a visual novel like action for those who want more story and romance aspects. This is an older game however, so it may be a little more difficult to find, plus it’s one of those sleeper hits that most people don’t know about.

The Official NA Site: http://nisamerica.com/games/atelierannie/

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