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

A Very Nintendo Christmas!

Greeting readers :)

Sorry for the lateness of my first post of the year, but boy has it started with a bang. I’ve been literally rushed off my feet with kids, sickness, hospital’s, driving lessons, school, and everything else.

Christmas was a great break, although I don’t really feel like I had a break now I’ve been so busy.

One thing though that helps me unwind after a hard day is some lovely family time.

As a family amongst other things one thing we do really enjoy doing together is playing video games, and this Christmas and new year has been all about Nintendo and the Wii U.

We’ve been having loads of fun playing Captain Toad Treasure Tracker together, which is a puzzle game where you navigate Toad around with the gamepad. It’s tricky as sometimes it looks like Captain Toad is stuck, and you need to move the picture around and change the way you view the screen. It gives you a new perspective on the puzzle, and you’ll hopefully see the path you need.

If you’ve ever played Fez it’s a bit similar to that, however with Captain Toad you get familiar enemies like Goombas to negotiate. It’s a lot of fun.

Another game that Thomas has spent way too many hours on this christmas season is Pokemon Omega Ruby. He loves Pokemon games, and said that this is definitely his favourite yet. He said it’s great that you can collect loads of legendary Pokemon like Latios and Rayquaza. He loves the new Mega Evolution Pokemon as well.

He also likes the new Pokemon contests you can compete in. I’m not sure what these are, but he says they are a good new part of the game.

Me and hubby have also been having a whale of a time playfully beating each other up in the new Super Smash Bros Wii U game. We’ve managed to unlock most of the hidden characters too, with only the Duck Hunt ones left.

Pacman is my fighter of choice, whereas hubby always goes Captain Falcon. He’s dying for Nintendo to make a new F-Zero for the Wii U, that would be his dream.

Nintendo Uk were lovely enough to send us some of their new Amiibo figures to use with the game, plus father christmas then contributed a few more, so we all have our own one now. I have Princess Peach, Daddy is Mario, Jacob has a little Yoshi and Thomas got his favourite Pickachu.

Amiibo’s are Nintendo’s answer to Skylanders and Disney Infinity figures, but there’s not just one title or series that they are compatible with. Amiibo figures are set to be compatible with a whole range of different games across the Wii U and 3DS consoles.

You’ll need a new version of the 3DS to play with the Amiibo figures, but the Wii U gamepad has a reader for them already built-in. It’s great that you don’t need an additional peripheral or portal for them. Plus they look amazing all together as a collection along the mantlepiece.

Nintendo are releasing sets of Amiibo’s in waves. Apart from the always popular Mario and Link, most Amiibo’s look to be for a limited time only whilst you can find them, so get straight out and get them if there’s a particular character you just have to own.

We’ve already placed a pre-order for some of the next wave of Amiibo’s, as Thomas is gutted that the Little Mac figure is already sold out.

So all in all this Christmas seems to have been totally dominated by Nintendo in the Toybuzz household. Lots of Super Smashing, Pokemoning, Tresure tracking and Amiibo training has been going on.

 

 

Games Quest Board Game Review and Competition

Last week the opportunity came up for us to review the online board game store – Games Quest, and I literally jumped at the chance with both hands grabbing as I love, Love, Love board games and card games.

We were given £40 to spend at Games Quest’s online store on whatever we wanted.

Thomas and I sat down and perused all the options, which took a long time as there is so much choice.

Plus Thomas got carried away having to look into all the others things that Games Quest sell like the toys, books, and puzzles before we were done.

We finally after much deliberation sent Games Quest our picks, and were thrilled to receive our order back in a few days.

We wanted to go for a few different things so choose a card game in the form of Fluxx – The Regular Show edition, Traffic – which is a puzzle game, and Cat-opoly – a board game.

The games actually came at a really great time, as Thomas was off school all last week with a terrible cough and cold. So we had plenty of time to get well acquainted with our new games.

Traffic was the first game we played, and it’s a right brain puzzler. The game is all about getting rid of your cards, and you do this by moving your car around the game board. You can only move around the game board when one of your cards matches the pattern the cars make on the board. It’s a bit hard to explain without playing, but we enjoyed it a lot.

Cat-opoly is a like Monopoly obviously but with everything cat related. All the tokens are catafied like a tin of sardines and a ball of wool, the jail is now Water, Free Parking is Free Catnip, and all the properties are now different breeds of cats. For a cat lover it is possibly the best present ever. My son Thomas is a huge Monopoly fan, and Huge Cat Lover so he was totally in his element, and is constantly begging people to play Cat-poly again with him. Amazing game which we totally recommend if you’re a cat or animal lover.

Fluxx is probably our favourite of the lot and the game we played most often, mostly due to our deep love and appreciation of the Cartoon Network series Regular Show. Initially you start playing Fluxx thinking ‘what on earth is going on?’ as every card you draw changes the rules somehow. However after a few games you really get into it, and it’s so fun playing that card which you know is going to wreck your opponents game in an instant.

We want to say a big thank you to Games Quest for letting us try out the store, and introducing us to these awesome board games.

Competition

 

The awesome people at Games Quest are also giving you the chance to win a £40 voucher to spend at their store.

All you need to do to enter is fill in your details on the Rafflecopter below. Competition ends on the 16th December 2014. For full details check out the Rafflecopter entry page below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/%C2%A340-spend-games-quest-0#sthash.kGVc9ymU.dpuf

Rubik’s Speed Cuber Challenge and UK Championships

 

You may remember last year I became a ‘Cuber in Training’ and was challenged by Rubik’s to complete the cube in the fastest time possible.

Everything went quite well, and I think i finished with a pretty respectable time.

Well since my time in training, I’ll admit that I haven’t really kept up my new skill, and now seem to be back to square one again.

So when Rubik’s got back in touch with another ‘Cuber in training’ challenge, I thought it’d be a good idea to get back into it. Plus this time around I have a secret weapon to help me finish my cube even quicker, The Speed Cube!

The Speed Cube is the Rubik’s cube that professional cubers use to attain their amazingly fast completion times, and it’s also the cube that will be used weekend at the Rubik’s UK Championships this weekend.

The event takes place on 1st – 2nd November 2014 at The O2 Academy, Leicester, and current UK Champion Thom Barlow will be defending his cubing title.  The 2013 Rubik’s Cube Champion from Manchester last year completed the iconic 3×3 cube in a mind blowing 10.64 seconds average.  Thom has a battle on his hands though, as current UK record holder and new European Champion, 16 year old Alexander Lau will be competing and ready to take on the challenge, as well as previous champ Breandan Vallance.

The Speed Cube pack comes with the cube, some extra springs, some cube lubricant, and instructions on how to disassemble your cube to change the springs and lube it up for maximum speed and precision.

As a novice cuber, for me the speed cube has its advantages and disadvantages.

It’s definitely quicker to move the blocks around, and every block moves smoothly around with no sticking. I sometimes find that I get stuck mid move with the original cube, as it’s stiffer. So I can see how much of an advantage the Speed Cube would be for getting the fastest times possible.

However that also comes with the disadvantage that it can sometimes be too easy to move the blocks, and i end up moving too many at the same time.

At the moment I wouldn’t say the Speed Cube has made me complete the puzzle any quicker as I’m just getting used to it again. However I think with some practice I would see an improvement over my original fastest time with this new cube. I’m going to keep going over this week and see how I do.

The 2014 UK Rubik’s Cube Championships is taking place on 1st – 2nd November 2014 at The 02 Academy, Leicester.  For additional details about the event, visit www.worldcubeassociation.org. For more information about the Rubik’s Cube, including fun facts, visit www.Rubiks.com or visit the official Rubik’s Facebook page.

 

 

Cuber In Training – Challenge Three

Here we are then – Judgement day!

All the hard work and training over the last few days has been building up to this.

I’ve been driving the family mad with my cubing. First few days because I was just staring at it blankly and getting cross with myself. And now that I can do it, I can’t stop myself.

I’ve just been practicing as much as I can. Every minute I can fit a bit in I’ve been cubing.

On the bus with my mini Rubik’s key ring, on the way to school, whilst cooking the dinner. I’ve even taken to leaving my cube by the kettle so I can have a go whilst it’s boiling and I’m making the tea.

Finally this morning I felt confident enough to start filming and timing myself. I’ve had a few goes – some went badly and I totally lost it, others went better but weren’t as fast as I’d have liked.

This is my fourth attempt at the challenge, and I’m finally happy with my time. In fact I’m over the moon with my time. My best time ever and I managed to get it on film!

If you want to see how I got on, and more importantly my time you’ll have to watch the video for yourself.

Be gentle with me please, It’s my first time on camera :)

Disclosure: I was sent various Rubik’s products in order to participate in the Cuber In Training programme

 

Cuber In Training – Challenge Two

Sooooo…. To be honest after a rocky start, I’m actually doing ok with my Rubik’s Challenge.

I started slowly, well at a snail’s pace to be honest. I sat swivelling the cubes around, staring at the instructions and getting absolutely nowhere.

Challenge one was complete the cube in under 20 minutes. Complete the cube at all would have been nice.

As I was getting nowhere fast with the official instructions I decided to go digging out another simpler way. I found a video where the top cross of the cube is completed a different way to the instructions we were given, and for some reason this clicked with me and I suddenly got it.

Strangely though, that same video suddenly lost me once I had completed the top layer. I went back to the official Rubik’s instructions and once again it clicked. As a result my method of completing the cube is a mish-mash of versions, but it seems to be working for me at the minute.  After having a Skype call with Daniel Sheppard one of the Uk’s top Cubers I felt better, as Daniel explained that most cubers have their own method and do things differently.

Challenge Two was to solve the cube in under 20 minutes but whilst undertaking another silly task. I decided to incorporate the cube into my everyday life and have a go at cubing whilst doing the school run. Luckily we have quite a simple route to school, and not many roads to cross, so I had a good clear run.

I’m really good at the top layer, even if I do say so myself, and did this easily without the instructions. After that I need the instructions to show me the algorithms, so had to get Thomas to shout out R, L, RI, B all the way down the road. We must have looked like a couple of loonies. I even pinned a copy of the instruction sheet to Jacob’s jacket and made him walk in front of me (when we were a suitable distance away from the school obviously)

I did ok surprisingly, managed to get the top and middle layer down, but then found it hard to concentrate and put one foot in front of the other at the same time.  Oh well, challenge three is beckoning – The big one. Competing against my fellow Cubers in Training to see who’s the fastest.

 

Disclosure: I was sent some Rubik’s products in order to participate in the ‘Cuber In Training’ Blogger programme.

Proud to be part of the John Adams Games Group

We’re really proud to have been asked to be a part of the new John Adams Games Group.

Every week for the next couple of months were going to be holding a weekly John Adams games night, and blogging about all the new games we’ve been playing.

Monday night at Toybuzz is always traditionally games night, so it’ll be great to have a new selection of games to enjoy.

Apparently the first batch of games will be some more kid focused action games like their brilliant Doggy Doo, So that’s something nice for the boys to look forward too.

I’m hoping that there may be a bit of a clue from the badge, and we might get one of Ideal’s Rubik’s based games like the classic Rubik’s cube or Rubik’s race.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the first parcel brings us, but the excitement is getting to me already

Mensa Academy:Nintendo 3DS – Review

Being as I was an avid player of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on the original DS, I was really happy to get the opportunity to try out Mensa Academy on the 3DS.

Mensa Academy is different to brain training in that rather than give you your Brain Age which in real terms doesn’t actually mean anything. Mensa Academy gives you your actual IQ Score by you taking actual Mensa IQ test questions.

Older but definitely not wiser, I wasn’t sure if the old noggin was still up to it, but I was intrigued to give it a go anyway.

First up this is definitely not a kids game, the first few levels of each of the categories are ok but after lulling me into a false sense of security it quickly ramped up the difficulty level.

There are 3 modes of play

  • Play – Get straight into the action and work through 20 increasingly difficult levels of each discipline
  • Coach – Once unlocked in play mode you can hone your skills on specific mini games
  • Test – The time has come for the Mensa IQ Test – 15 Minutes to complete 30 random questions

Within the game there are 5 different disciplines you must master

  • Language
  • Numeracy
  • Logic
  • Visual
  • Memory

Within each discipline there are different mini-games to master – Language,Numeracy and Logic have 7, Visual and Memory have 3. You need to pass with at least the minimum score to move onto the next level, with the maximum you can attain being 3 stars. There are 20 levels of difficulty for each of the 5 disciplines, so this is not some throwaway game, you’ll be playing this for months or if your me years!

Me being Me I thought that after completing a few of the levels in each of the disciplines I’d try out the Mensa Test. How hard could it be? Well rock hard to be honest, I was pitiful at it and after the first few questions I knew I was totally out of my depth and could feel myself drowning quickly. So it’s back to the Play Mode for me, I need to get lots more stars before I feel brave enough to tackle the IQ Test again.

The graphics in the mini games are interesting, and the music is quite funky. It’s a definite improvement on all of the other brain training and clone games I’ve played, but in my opinion the 3D is totally redundant. Just switch it off, it’s useless.

Although I do like the game, the dodgy movement tracking puts me off quite a bit. To answer the questions you need to move a hovering cursor over to the correct answer and then click. This sounds simple, but is frustratingly hard. Initially I didn’t use the stylus and was just moving the cursor with my finger, this did not work at all. The cursor seemed to always stop on the answer I didn’t want it too, or just trying to initially move it registered as a click and again I was a dunce.

I later switched to the stylus, which even though a 10000 times better, I still found frustrating to move and occasionally clicked on the wrong answer.

All in all it’s a good little game which taxes your brain and hopefully will make me think that little bit quicker next time I’m struggling to remember another parents name in the playground. It has it’s faults, but if you can look past the sometimes unforgiving input system there’s fun to be had.


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Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Puzzle Tin – Review

We were very kindly sent the Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom Puzzle Tin to review this week by Entertainment One.

I have to admit that having two boys I’ve never actually seen Ben and Holly’s Cartoon series, but Thomas loves puzzles and jigsaws so was very happy.

The puzzle consists of 35 pieces and is a nice size when finished, not too small, but not big enough to need too much room when piecing it together. Thomas always likes doing his puzzles on the kitchen table, and this puzzle was a great size for that.

The artwork on the tin is lovely, and there is a full picture of the completed puzzle on the back as a guide. You do however also get a sheet inside the tin with the picture on, but I like that it’s also on the tin too, as the sheet is bound to get lost in this house.

The main thing I like about this puzzle is the fact that it comes in a tin. We’ve lost so many puzzle pieces through the cracks of broken jigsaw boxes, so I think having it in a tin is a great idea. The Puzzle tin also looks much more attractive on a toy or book shelf compared to a battered old box, It’s a great idea all round.

RRP £6.99

‘The Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom 35 piece puzzle in a tin is fantastic for your little one to enjoy their favourite characters, whilst enjoying piecing together a bright and colourful jigsaw. The puzzle image features Ben & Holly having fun in the kitchen with King and Queen Thistle, Daisy, Poppy and Nanny Plum, using their magic to prepare dinner. The puzzle comes in a beautifully decorated tin that is great for storing jigsaw pieces when they are not being pieced together and will look lovely placed on a shelf or in a toy box ‘

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom products are available at all good retailers. Be sure to visit the Ben and Holly Official website and Like them on their official Ben and Holly Facebook Page .

Red Rover Game – Review

Red Rover is a brand new game from Fisher Price, and would make an excellent gift for preschoolers this Christmas.

It features an adorable red talking dog who wears a backpack on his back containing his stash of special bones.

The aim of the game is to scatter the bones all around the room and listen out for which bones Red Rover wants you to bring back to him.

There are 12 bones in all, all with different shapes, colours and letters printed on them. The end of each bone is shaped in such a way that Red Rover will recognise which bone you are placing in his mouth, so will be able to let you know whether you have brought him back the correct bone that he asked for or not.

Depending on your players age and level of ability you can play the game on 2 different difficulty levels. You either go for the younger “puppy dog game” version in which Red Rover will only ask you to bring back different coloured bones, or you can go for the full on “Big Dog Challenge” in which Red Rover will ask for all of the different options of bones (shapes, colours and letters).

My son Jacob who is 3 absolutely loves this game (as you can see from the video below) He goes mad for it, and since we received it last week he has played it at least 4 times a day, either on his own, with me or with his big brother.

It’s great that it’s a game that doesn’t need much setting up, you simply open up Rover’s backpack, spread out the bones and your on your way. Jacob get’s it out several times a day and just sets it all up and starts playing on his own.

It’s also great that there are lots of different ways that you can enjoy the game. When it’s just me and Jacob playing on our own we usually just spread the bones out and play it as more of a memory game than a game of speed. It’s a brilliant way for him to gain confidence with his colours and letters especially.

However when he plays with his big brother Thomas who obviously being that bit older has the advantage over him. I make it more of a hunt by really spreading the bones out and hiding them all around the room. Trying to level the playing field a bit by making it more about the luck of finding rather than knowing the answer, trying to give Jacob a bit more of a chance so Thomas doesn’t win the bone every time.

Whatever way we play the game it always contains lots of laughs and giggles, and everyone always has a great time playing it. There are not that many games that I can think of really suitable for younger players, but this is definitely one of them. I highly recommend it for anyone with a little one around 3-5 , and it would make a perfect christmas gift for them this year.


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