Handheld Hits – Final Fantasy Explorers, Part 2

By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! I was going to update my original post, but realized that I was going to be adding a lot of important details and visuals, so I decided to create part two. Don’t worry, all the goodness of part one is still available. In fact, if you need a refresher on the basics, allow me to link it for you. 


Now that you’re caught up, let the geeks begin! 

Alrighty, first item of business, the Monster Lab. As previously mentioned, as you defeat certain enemies, you gain their essence in the form of an atmalith. Take that atmalith to the lab, and for a fee, they’ll create a monster for you. The most expensive monster I’ve come across so far is 17,500 Gil, which isn’t all that bad after playing though hours of quests, or grinding for materials. The monsters themselves have their own abilities, and can level up, making them stronger. You can take up to three companions, depending on the size of their load. Not like that! There isn’t monster jizz or anything like that going on. Although, that is something the Japanese are jokingly known for. Load is the unit of measurement of the monster’s size. Again, not like that. Shockingly. Smaller, weaker, creatures have a load of 100, so you could take three, as your max is 300. However, creatures like say, Chocobos, have a load of 200, so you can bring one, and something smaller like say, Cactuar. There are two monsters I’ve seen so far that have a full load. Yeah, that time it was intentional. Black Knight, and Tonberry are deadly, and don’t want anyone else cramping their style. As they level up, they get ridiculously strong. I’ve got my knight at level 42, and he does some of the heavy lifting when taking on Eidolons. 

Speaking of the Eidolons, I’ve finally encountered, battled, and captured some. Yes, I said captured. At a certain point in the game, Cid decides that you’re skilled enough to handle magicite. Magicite allows you to enter trance, and summon the strength of either a classic Final Fantasy character, or an Eidolon. After you pass the test, you’re given a few magicite crystals from the wandering Moogle. Since those are the gimmies, I equipped Cloud, which grants the trance crystal surge of his signature move, Omnislash. When you trigger the ability in battle, you don’t just perform the move yourself, you become the character, and battle as them until the trance time expires. Now, as far as the Eidolons, you can equip them the same as Cloud and the others, which allows you to perform their attack, like Hellfire or Diamond Dust. I personally have yet to use them myself, as I really love being able to use Omnislash without waiting until disc 4 of FF VII. That being said, you don’t just gain the summon creatures. You have to battle them, and before defeating them, you have to trigger the Encase ability. If your Tonberry/Black Knight/etc knocks them out, you have to go back and battle them all over again. That can be a bit of a pain, especially with the later Eidolons like Odin and his one hit KO, Zantetsuken. 

Another item that I briefly touched on in part one was the job system. As you advance through your missions, more jobs become available. Like the airship and magicite, you have to prove your worth for some, while others are unlocked by completing certain tasks. For example, the Beastmaster job is made available after you’ve created 20 different monsters in the lab. Beastmaster’s special ability makes it easier to get atmaliths, and continue to grow your monster army. The Thief job allows you to steal items from your opponents, making it easier to create certain items. Now, speaking of item crafting, there are some excellent options available. You can get classic character signature outfits, such as Sephiroth, Cloud, Vaan, Yuna, Lightning, etc. One thing I don’t like is that the outfits are gender-locked, so your male character can’t wear Yuna attire, or your female couldn’t be Sephiroth. It won’t even give you a preview. Not that I’m necessarily into cross dressing, which for the record, was a MAJOR plot point in FF VII, but they could have made a male/female friendly version of these pieces. What if you’re a strong independent black woman who don’t need no Moogle, but you feel like dressing like the one-winged angel? Well, sorry, peaches, you can’t. It just seems like a stupid place to draw the line. Seriously, are they saying it’s demeaning for the men to dress in the clothes that are fine if you have boobs and no penis? Are the ladies somehow too inferior to be able to pull off Squall’s look? I think not, but I’m a writer, not a game designer, so my hands are tied. 

There’s still more that we need to cover, such as Streetpass, plot, notepad, monster fusion and more, but for now, I’m gonna call it a post. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

Handheld Hits – Yo-Kai Watch


By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! I love handheld games. Anything you can hold in your hands and play with, bringing hours of enjoyment is for me. That sounds dirty. It was meant to. I’m here with our next Handheld Hits entry, Yo-Kai Watch. I’d been seeing this one on recent trips to Game Stop, but had no idea what it was about. A friend and fellow gaymer had it, and showed me a bit of how it worked. From there, I went to YouTube, and learned more about this interesting franchise. Now to pass those savings on to you! Let the geeks begin! 


First things first, this game has been out in Japan for years, but we’re just getting it here in the states. Why is beyond me, unless they were waiting for the anime to get dubbed, so they had something to help market it to kids. Kids don’t need a lot of marketing. Give them something bright, colorful, and fun, they’ll invest every dime of their allowance into it. Or don’t. Give them an empty box, or a bit of wrapping paper and they’ll be entertained. Wait, I’m thinking cats. Eh, the same can apply for some kids. Just look at those silly band things that were all the rage. Anyhow, before going out to drop money on this game, I watched the opening, and the first ten minutes of gameplay, thanks to Gamexplain. A related link was the first episode of the anime, in English, which I also watched. 


In the game, you start off in the playground, talking about your bug collecting project, which of course you haven’t started. Your friends taunt you into showing it off later, Giggity, and slacker that you are, you decide to go catch some bugs right now. I swear they did this plot in Calvin & Hobbes. You can’t find any decent bugs in the city, so you head towards the woods, cause that’s where the bugs live. There’s a fence blocking off a forbidden area, but then some purple fog causes it to disappear. Now, even though your character saw the gate before it disappeared, peer pressure to look cool, causes him to go up the forbidden path, and possibly put his life in danger. There’s a giant tree with spirit tags on it, with an rather old looking gasha machine in front of it. You hear a voice saying feed me, and rather than running like hell, cause you’ve seen Little Shop of Horrors and know this won’t end well, you put a coin in the machine, turn the crank, and collect your prize; a bloated, sperm-looking, ghost named Whisper. He tells you that he is a Yo-Kai. Rather than being impressed, you wanna go catch more bugs. Whisper gives you a rather modern looking watch, and tells you it will help you see other Yo-Kai, who are all over in the human world. You identify one nearby, battle, and end up making friends with it. Is this starting to sound familiar? 


What do you mean no? Come on; Companion monster thing, battles for you, is able to talk and say it’s name, trying to make friends… That’s right, Yo-Kai Watch is a blatant copy of Digimon. What? You think I’m missing the obvious here, don’t you? C’mon, Digimon was supposed to be the next Pokemon, so why can’t Yo-Kai watch be the next Digimon? Fine, it’s similar to Pokemon. Only instead of Pikachu, you have Whisper, and no one can see him but you. Kinda like less creepy version of Ryuk. Anyhow, your first real quest is to recruit a few more friends. You can have 6 Max. It’s like they’re not even trying to hide it. You wander around town, using your watch to help you locate the Yo-Kai all over. While you travel your hometown, you’ll encounter a lot of Cadin, Dimmy, Coughkoff, Buhu, Negatibuzz, and Dulluma. Similar to early portions of Red/Silver/Ruby/Diamond/Black/Y, and the never ending supply of Rattata, Sentret, Zigzagoon, Bidoof, Patrat, and Bunnelby, you’ll get more than a little sick of seeing the same monsters over and over again. Such is the nature of early level gaming. 


Instead of types, there are several classifications for the Yo-Kai. Brave, mysterious, tough, charming, heartful, shady, eerie, and slippery. They don’t seem to have an advantage over one another, at least that I can tell, but can effect how you might catch them. Now, on to the battle mechanic. Your Poke- er, Yo-Kai will battle on their own. You don’t have to do anything. It’s idiot proof. I really don’t like that aspect of it, but considering nearly every battle is a three on three, I guess it’s a time saver. That isn’t to say you don’t have options. You can use items to try and recruit the enemy to your side after the battle. You can target a specific enemy, or purify one of your creatures if they got inspirited. The option you’ll use most often is Soultimate. Get it? It’s an ultimate move, but you’re a ghost. Hey! Someone worked hard on these jokes. People were fired for not doing better than that. Laugh it up. 


As you progress though the game’s first quests, you meet a kitty spirit that spends it’s time attacking trucks. Why? Well, before he became a Yo-Kai, he was a little girl’s pet. He was crossing the street, and was hit by a truck. His owner, rather than being grief-stricken, scoffs at him for being stupid enough to get hit. Yes, seriously. This is a game for children, and there’s a girl that had no right having a cat in the first place. I hate her so much. Anyhow, he’s been spending his time trying to get strong enough to take down trucks, so he can be worthy of his neglectful bitch. Poor spirit kitty. I’ll befriend you! 

  Too soon, man. Too soon.

There are several side quests you can participate in to get extra items or experience. There’s the possibility of evolving or fusing your Yo-Kai as well, but I’m not that far in yet. Initial impressions are that it’s a good game, and I can see the potential. I’m trying to overlook the similarities to Pokemon, especially as they aren’t trying to keep them in balls, go to gyms, or save the world from Team Rocket. It’s worth the cost of admission, and considering there’s anime you can watch online as well, it’ll help flesh out the world a bit. I’ll post again, or update as new things happen. Until next time, stay geeky and keep gabbing! 


Handheld Hits – Final Fantasy Explorers, Part 1


By Joshie Jaxon 

Greetings, geek fans! It occurred to me that with all the post categories we have, we didn’t have one dedicated to handheld gaming. From the original Gameboy to the PSP and 3DS, there is a rich vein of material to tap. Granted, I haven’t been heavy on gaming posts so far, which is something I’m hoping to change. Although they don’t offer nearly the inappropriate humor that old cartoons do. I haven’t been too involved in my consoles, but I’ve been able to carve out time for handhelds during these busy times in Joshie world. With that being said, I decided to start with a more recent game, rather than our usual retro style posts. However, as you can tell from the title, I decided to start with a series that has a great history, rather than some new series. Let the geeks begin! 

First order of business, you’ve gotta create your avatar. Name, gender, and skin tone are a given. You get to select your voice as well. Though it isn’t as though there’s a lot of dialogue for your character to speak. It’s more Link level shouting, grunts, etc. Then there are several facial options. Stop it! As well as selecting your eye color. You also get to choose your hairstyle, and color. I went with pink eyes and purple hair, cause that’s just how I roll. 


The game starts with your character in a cave, with a giant eidolon behind you. You’re prompted to run, as that is Bahamut, and you’re nowhere near ready to fight him yet. After escape you’re brought to the hub town of Libertas. The NPCs establish that you’re a freelance warrior, and in order to get a license, you have a complete a few tasks first. There’s a character named Cid, this is a Final Fantasy game after all. He tells you to talk to the woman in charge of quests, which starts you off on the tutorial quests that will give you the basics of the battle mechanic of the game. You can just slash your way through most of them, but as you continue, you’re able to forge abilities, techniques, and magics. Sub-Quest will open up as well, allowing you to earn extra rewards for meeting the conditions. Main quests are handled one at a time, while you can have multiple subs going at once. Accepting quests in either category costs Gil, but you more than make up for it by the time the quest is completed.


In Libertas there’s a fortune teller, shop, and workshop. You’ll be able to spend your Gil on weapons, armor, upgrades, and items. There’s also an airship, but you aren’t allowed access to it until you’ve competed a quest to earn the right. A Final Fantasy game wouldn’t be complete without Moogles, and there’s a Moogle shop in town as well. There’s a migrant Moogle merchant that I just adore, since any excuse to use alliteration makes me mildly merry. The Moogle shop items change, and they warn you that if you see something you like, get it right away. So far I’ve only seen basic items. The fanciest thing I’ve seen him stock so far was a Phoenix down. I’m hoping the goods will improve as I progress further. Another of the town’s features is a monster lab. I just gained access to it, so I’m still learning. The gist is that on your quests, as you defeat monsters, you can obtain their essence. If you take that essence to the monster lab, they can create a friendly version of the monster that you can then take with you as a party member. So far, I’ve made two. 


I’m still struggling to get the plot of the game, as I’m used to the numbered entries like VII, VIII, and IX, where everything you do is to advance the plot. This seems more like monster hunting quests with a plot kind of woven into it. Granted, the crystal element isn’t exactly new to any Final Fantasy series. There are crystals throughout the world, and people appear to be fighting over them. There’s a main crystal in Libertas which is where you can spend your crystal points (CP) to create and improve your abilities. There’s a job system in place, but only a few of them are initially available. Currently, I’m a knight, as I like using swords, and slashing at the bad guys, er, monsters. There’s Streetpass enabled for FF EX, which allows you to exchange your license with the people you pass. It shows your current stats, as well as your role you play, as far as Damager, Tank, Healer… There’s another quest counter where you can get/give quests for Streetpass people to help with. I have yet to pass anyone with the game yet. 


I know there are 12 Eidolons and 11 classic Final Fantasy characters that will eventually come into play. I’m only a few hours in, so I haven’t encountered them. I’ll need to either write a new post as I get further in, or I’ll update this one. I haven’t decided yet. Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing! 

**Update – Part 2 in now available