Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Review

Jacob my youngest, and my husband have been playing Zelda Breath of the Wild together for 2 weeks now.

This is Jacobs first Zelda game, but he was really hyped up after watching all the Youtubers doing playthroughs, so he was thrilled when we got a review code for the game from Nintendo.

Although they’re only about half way through we think, they are really loving the experience so far.

Initially Jacob and his dad were planning on having their own saves and playing through separately. However even with his prior knowledge Jacob found the game rather difficult on his own.

Actually I’m not sure if Jacob will be a bit upset I said it was too difficult for him, perhaps thats not strictly true. I think he just found the initial openness of the environment, and ‘I can do anything so what am I supposed to do’ a bit daunting.

So its been a good bonding exercise and worked out well, Jacob and his dad playing together. Ive enjoyed us all sitting in the front room and watching them explore Hyrule together, cooking recipes and working out tricky puzzles. It’s a great game to sit and watch someone play.

We’ve been testing out the Wii U version of the game as we don’t have a new Switch yet, but the game still looks and plays amazing. It will obviously look better on the Switch as it’s a newer console, but I can’t honestly see how as I think it looks beautiful. Definitely the best looking game we’ve played on the Wii U ever.

As always there are some great characters to be found lurking around Hyrule.  Jacob and I especially love Hetsu and his maracas

His happy dance is so funny, and I love his “Dah-na-na-na-naaaaaaaa!”.

I think still the best thing about Zelda are the puzzles. I know my husband has got frustrated a few times at some fiendish puzzles, but the satisfaction you get when you’ve actually figured it out and solved it soon makes up for it.

Another mainstay of Zelda games is the beautiful music and sound design, and Breath of the Wild certainly doesn’t disappoint. The game sounds beautiful. I love the background music, weather effects, dialogue sounds and music. It’s all so emotive, and plays a big part in the storytelling.

Even Thomas my oldest who’s now more of a first person shooter kind of guy has shown an interest in Breath of the wild. He’s even got first dibs on the Wii U when they’ve finished it, as he’s going to give it a go himself.

So there we go thats The Toybuzz household review of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We maybe only halfway through but were loving it. We can’t wait to see what happens next, and who Link will come up against next.

Disclosure: We were given a review code for this game as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All views and opinions are our own.

Super Mario Maker for 3DS – Review

In our household we all agree that Super Mario Maker has been some of the most fun we’ve had with the Wii U, probably even every console ever.

We all had an amazing time creating levels for each other and challenging everyone on family night. Its so addicting seeing somebody finally beat your level while you watch, mentally ticking over what you need to change to make it even more devilishly difficult for next time.

Well now you can have all the fun of the Wii U version, but this time on the go on the 3DS.

To say this game comes at the perfect time for us is an understatement. Were going on holiday in 2 weeks to Florida, which involves a 9 hour flight.

Ive been panicking like mad about what the boys are going to be like on the long journey, considering now they are too old for the traditional colouring books and the like I usually pack. So to have an endlessly creative game like Super Mario Maker to play during the journey will be a godsend.

The only big difference between the 3DS and Wii U versions are the ability to share courses online. For some people this may be a problem, but for us its no big deal really. As a family we only ever saved the courses as challenges between ourselves, so I don’t think we ever did upload any courses online anyway.

However you can play lot and lots of user made courses if you have internet access through Nintendo’s recommended courses section. A massive selection of user made levels curated by Nintendo.

Although you’d think by the name that making courses is the thing you will do the most, So far I’ve spent most of my time playing the Super Mario Challenge mode. It’s such an amazing game, I’m absolutely loving it.

The thing is I find it so hard, some of the courses are really tricky and thats without doing the extra tricky tasks to gain medals. It’s so much fun though, and trying to attain all those medals will keep me busy forever I think.

My only bug bear is that you have to complete the Super Mario challenges to unlock extra build course elements. I think this is a bit much to ask of younger players, and preferred the Wii U’s approach of new items overtime you played for the first couple of days.

That’s only a small annoyance though, overall it’s a great buy if you have a 3DS. I would highly recommend it.

Disclosure: We received an online code for this game from Nintendo as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All opinions are our own.

Pokemon Sun and Moon – Review

I think everyone can agree that 2016 has been a bit of a rubbish year. However for me the best thing to come out of it is the incredible cultural comeback of Pokemon! It seems that Pikachu and friends have taken over the world all over again.

This year Thomas’ stocking will be overflowing with Pokemon related goodies once again as he’s back into it in a big way, and to be honest I couldn’t be happier as I love it too.

Obviously the massively successful Pokemon Go has played its part in Pokemons resurgence, but the hype surrounding Pokemon Sun and Moon was the thing that kept everything ticking over.

Well now the wait is over, and Thomas finally got to play his most anticipated game of the year, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. He has been glued to the 3DS ever since release day.

This is the reason for this review being told through Thomas’ thoughts to me, as he won’t get off it long enough for me to have a go .

Firstly He says that the new Pokemon are the best in years, with the new starters only just behind the beloved originals. He choose Litten the Fire Type, which is the one I would have chosen too. Although I think Popplio comes a close second.

He’s desperate to find his first Shiny Pokemon, as they are awesome. However they are so rare I think it’ll be a miracle if he does.

The game is set in the new Alola region, and its a really nice place to go Pokemon hunting. Sun, sea, beaches, Palm trees. Its like going on a little holiday everytime you play.

Pokemon Sun and Moon is a bit different to other Pokemon titles as you don’t just travel around battling gyms as usual. This time around you travel the islands completing challenges, quizzes, although theres always some battling to be done.

When I asked Thomas about his favourite part of the game he said the Scavenger Hunts were brilliant. He loved travelling around taking photos of all the Pokemon.

Another new thing in Pokemon Sun and Moon are the new Z Moves. These are new extra powerful moves you can teach your Pokemon when you get the Z Ring and correct crystals for the Pokemon type.

Overall Thomas is having an absolute blast playing Pokemon Moon, and it has definitely lived up to his expectations. An unmissable instalment to the series – if your a fan you just have to get it!

 

Disclosure: We received a code for the game as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network. All opinions  are our own.

 

Yo-Kai Watch – Nintendo 3DS review

For the last two weeks we’ve been busy playing and testing out the new game on the Nintendo 3DS – Yo-Kai Watch

Thomas has been my main tester as he’d seen the Yo-Kai Watch trailers at last years E3, and it seemed like a games he would like.

Yo-Kai Watch is the story of Nate. A young boy from Springdale,  who finds a mysterious Gacha machine in the woods. Out pops Whisper, a Yo-Kai. He gives Nate a Yo-Kai Watch, which you use to find new Yo-Kai and befriend them.

Yo-Kai are mischievous little things. Sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes just plain weird.

Yo-Kai are behind all the goings on in Springdale. If you’ve lost something, say things you don’t mean to accidentally, even just feeling hungry all the time. Theres probably a Yo-Kai close by pulling the strings. However they can’t be seen by the human eye. Only Nate can find them with his Yo-Kai Watch lens.

Once you find a Yo-Kai you need to battle with them to befriend them. You’ll need to impress them with your skills before they will join you.

Yo-Kai also have problems of they’re own too, which they will ask for your help with.

Thomas loves Pokemon with a passion, so a game about collecting and battling obviously appealed greatly to him.

Having shipped over 10 million copies, he was keen to give Yo-Kai Watch a go, and see what all the fuss was about.

To say he is hooked would be an understatement!

Although initially he told me it was similar to Pokemon, the more he’s played the differences have become more apparent.

He loves the way that the Yo-Kai actually battle themselves whilst you watch. You can then step in and help them out, telling them moves or healing their health. He says its more exciting watching what they are doing and then helping where you can.

He’s also a big fan of the Yo-Kai watch itself. He likes the way that you need to get upgrades to your watch to catch the stronger Yo-Kai.

The Boss Yo-Kai are brilliant challenges apparently. Each boss has a weak spot which they keep protecting, and you have to figure out a way to get to it.

The one thing Thomas repeatedly keeps saying to me is “it’s amazing, but it’s very hard”. He has got stuck a couple of times already, and had to have a quick peek at a Youtube walkthrough.  Also catching the Yo-Kai can be tricky too.

Sometimes the Yo-Kai just don’t want to be your friend, and it’s just bad luck keep trying. Sometimes you don’t have their favourite food to give them, or have an unpopular Yo-Kai on your team.

It’s much more involved than in Pokemon where you simply find, battle and then have them in your poke ball. It can be frustrating, but very rewarding when you finally friend up.

Yo-Kai Watch has become an instant hit in our house, Thomas thinks it’s amazing and it’s his new favourite game.

He’s got a long journey on the coach tomorrow to London. However instead of looking forward to getting there, he’s more excited about all that time to play more Yo-Kai Watch on the way.

Disclosure: We were sent a code for Yo-Kai Watch to review as part of the Nintendo UK Family Bloggers Network

Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes – Review

The newest game we’ve been testing out on our Nintendo 3DS is Legend of Zelda Tri Force Heroes.

It’s a very addictive puzzle game which sees you as one of the Tri-Force heroes rooting around caves searching for Rupees and solving puzzles.

If you ever played Zelda Four Swords on the 3DS it’s a lot like that.

Four Swords being one of Thomas’ favourite 3DS games ever, meant he probably loved Tri-Force Heroes the most. With Jacob coming a close second.

You can play Tri-Force heroes with friends over local play, find other players to join in games over the internet, or you can take charge of all three heroes and play alone.

It takes some getting used to playing alone and switching between each hero, but it’s good that you have the option. Luckily we all have a 3DS, so have been able to enjoy playing with 3 heroes over the local network.

The name of the game is teamwork. Some of the puzzles really make you think, and everyone has to keep on their toes and in the right place to solve them.

Some times you need to reach something high up, so your heroes can Totem on top of each other. However you may need to then throw a bomb, and the player with the bombs is on the bottom of the pile. So you need to switch around quickly.

When playing online or in Local play you can communicate onscreen with your fellow players with 8 special Emoticons. For example, ‘Over here’, ‘Throw’ or ‘Nooo!’. It’s fun to use these, but we did just end up yelling at each other anyway, as it’s just easier.

We all had great fun with Legend of Zelda – Tri Force Heroes. Personally I found playing on my own a bit repetitive, but had a lot of laughs when playing together with the boys.

Thomas and Jacob however have had equal use of the game with local play and solo, and love both modes.

Thanks Nintendo UK for letting us review another brilliant 3DS title.

 

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of the game to review as part of the Nintendo UK family blogger panel

Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer

For the last two weeks we’ve been playing the new Nintendo 3DS game – Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer.

If you familiar with previous Animal Crossing games then you’ll be right at home with this title. It’s all the things you loved about doing up your home in Animal Crossing, but that’s the whole game.

Yes it sounds like you might be missing out on all the fishing and bug catching, but it’s actually really fun decorating other peoples homes.

You work for Tom Nook as a realtor at Nook Homes. Your job at first is to decorate your clients new houses to their specific tastes. However you soon advance onto actually finding a plot and designing the exterior of the homes too.

Plus it’s not just home owners you have as clients. The lovely Isabella from Animal Crossings town hall comes to engage your services, having you build and decorate various new civic buildings like schools and hospitals, and new shops and restaurants for the town.

Theres so much more furniture and furnishings to choose from than in Animal Crossing, so you can really go to town on your clients houses. Harnessing all your interior design powers.

A feature which I didn’t get the chance to try, but will definitely be on the look out for are the new Amibo Cards. Each pack of cards come with 3 Amiibo cards. Each card is an Animal friend, and you can scan the cards on your new Amiibo enabled 3DS or with the NFC reader accessory. The animal from the card that you’ve scanned will then be in the game, and you can invite them to different events in your town.

I really enjoyed playing Animal Crossing – Happy Home Designer. It’s a gentle game, no checkpoints or levels to complete, it’s very easy going. It’s been great for me to sit down for 20 minutes when the kids have gone to bed after a stressful day, and relax and unwind by designing someones house and garden.

 

Super Mario Maker – Review

For the last 2 weeks the number one game being played by all of us has been Super Mario Maker. Jacob is so taken with it, that it’s a fight to get the Wii U out of his hands to have a go yourself.

The game is a genius idea. Give the players the tools to create their own Super Mario levels on the Wii U gamepad. It’s amazingly simple, but utterly addictive.

It’s not just the brilliance of being able to make your own levels, but you also get to play everyone else’s level creations.

We were sent a copy by Nintendo to review, complete with a Super Mario Maker Amiibo and a very cool little Mario flip book which the boys loved and fought over, and broke the cover off. Trust me to have two boys!

As I mentioned Jacob is the one who’s played it the most, as he won’t let anyone else on it. As well as making his own levels, he loves playing other peoples challenges. The way that you can share your levels with other players online via codes is really great.

 

Jacob loves watching his favourite Youtubers Super Mario Maker levels, and being able to use the codes to download and try them himself. That is probably his favourite part of the game. Playing the same levels as Yogscast and Stampy Longnose, plus levels made by his Youtubing heroes.

You can use the Amiibos you have in your collection to add to the fun in the game. By pressing them onto the Wii U gamepad you can make your Amiibo characters jump into your levels.

Super Mario Maker starts off quite small. Theres a little tutorial level at the beginning holding your hand as you start building, and then it’s you turn. However you might be surprised when you begin at the amount of things you can add to your level. However don’t panic this is just Super Mario Maker letting you in gently. Keep level designing and soon your first item truck will appear, adding more to your arsenal of blocks and templates.

It takes around a week until you will collect everything the game has for your levels. Every morning Jacob has jumped out of bed and straight downstairs to the Wii U gamepad to see what the item truck has brought him. He’s so excited now he has all the items.

Although you can play on the big screen TV as usual, It’s much easier to just take the Wii U Gamepad and build your levels comfy on the sofa. It’s great that you have the option of tv play or simply via the Wii U gamepad screen.  Especially since Jacob doesn’t want to let the game go.

Super Mario Maker is the perfect game for a creative kid like Jacob, he’s absolutely in his element throwing Bowsers here there and eveywhere. It’s really easy to pick up and start making your level, but making a good level takes time and patience.

This is something he’s starting to realise after playing it for 2 weeks, yes you made a level, but you could make it better if you spent a bit more time on it.

It’s definitely a game that he’ll still be playing just as much 6 months from now. I think his level making skills are only going to get better with time. Plus the whole Super Mario Maker community are going to grow as well, so they’ll be even more brilliant user submitted levels to play.

As you can see from Jacob’s video review, it’s a big hit!

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Super Mario Maker by Nintendo in order to write an honest review. All opinions are our own.

 

 

 

 

 

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush – Review

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is the latest game featuring the loveable pink ball on the Wii U.

In the game Kirbys home of Dream Land and all the inhabitants have been drained of all colour, by an evil villain who appears from a portal through the sky. Luckily a magical paintbrush also appears, and helps Kirby and his friend Waddle Dee get their colour back. Kirby then sets off on an adventure to put things right.

You play the game by drawing rainbow ropes for Kirby to traverse on the Wii U’s touch screen gamepad. Kirby travels along the colourful ropes wherever you draw them. You use them to help Kirby navigate obstacles, collect powers and attack enemies.

However the magic paintbrush only has so much ink, so you have to keep a careful eye on how much ink you’ve used in your rope or Kirby might fall somewhere dangerous. Also the colours on the magical ropes only last so long before they start to fade and disintegrate. we’ve found that sometimes making more smaller ropes works best when you can.

Jacob is the biggest Kirby fan in our house, so has commandeered most of the gametime to himself. It’s hard to get him off it to be honest. The good news is that as you spend most of the time looking down on the gamepad, it’s the perfect game to take advantage of the wii u’s best feature, using the gamepad without needing the tv on.

Jacob loves that he can sit on the other sofa with his headphones on, playing a console game like it’s his 3DS. He plays the Wii U like this a lot if the game allows.

However when he finally lets everyone else play 4 of us can play together. One plays as Kirby on the gamepad, and the 3 others play as Waddle Dee’s on either wii Remotes or Wii U Pro Controllers. It’s so much fun all playing together, and very colourful seeing all the rainbow ropes running over the screen.

We all really like the art style of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. It’s made to look like everything is made of clay or plasticine. We had a lot of fun making our own Kirby and Dream Land thanks to the amazing art pack we received from Nintendo with the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you fancy making your own check out the youtube video below, it’s a great step by step guide.

Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is a lovely game for all ages. It’s very easy to just pick up and play.

Disclosure: We received a copy of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush and the art supplies as part of our participation in the Nintendo Family Bloggers Network.

 

Mario Party 10 – Review

As a true gaming family, were always busy enjoying some video games together in the evening.

The latest game to keep our Wii U well and truly knackered is the new Mario Party game – Mario Party 10.

Released last Friday 20th March 2015, the latest in the popular game series is simply the best yet.

I’ll be honest and admit that the last Mario Party game I played was way way back in the series at Mario Party 6 on the Gamecube, so to say the game has come along way since then is an understatement.  However the fun gameplay that me and hubby spent hours playing years ago is still there in abundance, and now we have the children to play with too it’s even more fun!

Theres two new big gameplay innovations in Mario Party 10 – the addition of Amibo’s, Nintendo’s collectable figures with wireless play, and the ‘Bowser Party’ mode which sees all the players working together as a group to escape Bowsers clutches.

In the main Mario Party mode everyone works their way around the variety of different boards, each trying to reach the end square first. Along the way theres mini games to play, hearts to collect, and make sure to avoid the dreaded Bowser spaces as landing there is never a good idea.

I like that some of the mini games are a free for all, and some put you in teams with another players. This means that younger players who might not get the hang of every game should get a chance to catch up on hearts.

Even though the game is called Mario Party, The boys and I have found that we’ve definitely played the new “Bowser Party” mode more often. In this mode all the players work as a team travelling the board and playing the mini games collectively. You can choose that the computer plays as Bowser and does the dirty work, or you can choose one player to use the gamepad and play as Bowser. Thomas having a slight sadistic streak ALWAYS has to play as Bowser, he just loves it as it’s so hard to beat him.  Bowser Party mode is seriously staked towards Bowser winning every time. I think out of maybe 15 times we’ve played that Jacob and I have won once.

We like the variety in Bowser Party and the fact that the player who’s Bowser gets to use the gamepad for lots of fun and devious things. The boys are both big fans of using the gamepad, so it’s great to have a new game that utilises it fully. One of the funest things that we’ve found with it is in the underwater Bowser party level where you have to try and trick your fellow players into going the wrong way down a path, and into picking the wrong boxes by drawing on the gamepad screen.  It’s a brilliant use of the gamepad and is something really unique to the Wii U.

Our Awesome Mario Party 10 Family Bloggers Pack we were sent by Nintendo – Everything to host the best party, even the Party Rings!

A totally different experience to the Mario and Bowser party modes is the Amiibo Party.

Each player uses their Amiibo character to play. It’s more like a board game than Mario party mode, but it’s charming in its own way.

Everyone needs to use a wii remote to move and play the mini games, but you use the gamepad each time it’s your turn to put your Amiibo on the NFC scanner and roll your dice.

As you play you can pick up tokens, new game boards and other rewards which you store on your Amiibo by tapping it onto the NFC scanner on the gamepad.

It’s a little tamer than the main games, but a nice change of pace, and a fun way to use your Amiibo’s.

A lovely hidden gem that you simply must not overlook are the awesome bonus games. We have literally spent hours playing Badminton, and jewel drop. Jewel drop in particular is an amazing little game, plus Jacob is so good at it I enjoy playing against him just to see his excited little face.

As a family we have had an awesome time playing Mario Party 10. The games are fast and never drag, are always full of laughs and excitement, as far as were concerned it’s a must buy game if you have a Wii U.

Disclosure: Were were sent a copy of Mario Party 10 as part of the Nintendo Family Bloggers network

 

New Nintendo 3DS – Review

February 13th sees the new and improved Nintendo 3DS go on sale in Europe, but amazingly Nintendo sent us one to review early so we could let you know all about their new handheld console.

We’ve been testing out the new Nintendo 3DS for about 2 weeks now, and have had a good go at all the new features.

We’ve been playing around with the smaller original sized new 3DS, but there is also an update of the XL version.

Some of the improvements on the new version include new shoulder buttons, new circle pad joystick,retro coloured buttons which look awesome, an improved processor, and vastly improved 3D.

The improved 3D has been the biggest jump forward for me with the new device. It works so much better, and I’ve actually been using the 3D all the time whereas before it would be more on and off. The 3D works better thanks to the new second camera which handles face-tracking. This means that you don’t have the problem anymore of moving slightly and losing the 3D image and having to find that sweet spot again. It’s made such a difference to my 3DS experience and I love it.

The boys have never really been big fans of the 3D on the 3DS, that’s why they got on so well with the simpler 2DS. However they have both been interested to try it out again on the new version and have been enjoying it a lot more.

It’s still not something I would let them play all the time, as I do worry about little ones developing eyes using it too much, but things like taking pictures in 3D and Face Raiders have been vastly improved for them by the new face tracking tech.

To be honest it’s the 3D pictures we’ve been using the most. Jacob just loves using his 3DS camera, and now taking 3D pictures is his big thing. They look amazing.

A brand new feature you won’t be able to see is the NFC technology, which makes it possible to use your lovely new Ammibo characters with your new 3DS. You just place the character base on the bottom screen, and just like that your Ammibo’s details come up on-screen. The first game to use the Ammibo’s will be Super Smash Bros 3DS once it gets the update tomorrow, and I can’t wait.

You will be able to use Ammibo’s with the old 3DS if you get a peripheral reader when they come out, but it won’t be as clean and user-friendly as simply putting your figure on the screen.

Another thing we love is the changeable face plates for the front and back of the screen. We were sent some Luigi plates as you can see, and they make your 3DS seem really fresh and original. Plus it’s a great way to add a bit of your personality to your new console.

For mums and Dads I think the appeal will be having different face plates for different kids 3DS’s so you can tell them apart. My boys have almost always had 3DS’s with no cases around them, as they found them too bulky to play with when they were younger with smaller hands. So these would be ideal. I wonder if they do a Pokemon themed one for Thomas?

The removable front and back plates are only available for the smaller new 3DS and not the XL which is a good and bad thing I suppose. It’s nice actually that it makes you feel better about having the smaller screen.

One small thing that still bugs me is that you don’t get a charger with the console. I know that most people will have one anyway from their previous 2DS/3DS, and if not they are easy and cheap to buy, but it still bugs me.

In conclusion the new 3DS might initially seem like not much has changed and an only upgrade when your original breaks kind of situation. But once you start actually using it you realise that all the little things that have changed add up to a great new console experience that if you love Nintendo and your 3DS you just have to get in on.