The Mommy Gamers

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    Animal Crossing New Horizons: Getting Ready for Update 2.0

    Animal Crossing New Horizons Version 2.0

    With all the hype coming up about the Animal Crossing New Horizon 2.0 update a lot of people are running back to their islands to prepare for all the awesome things coming up including myself. I don’t know about you but I had quite the mess when I came back. Weeds, bugs in my house and some very worried villagers that apparently have not seen me in months… GASP!!

    There are so many things that you can do in this game daily like exploring, events, and so much more. Need a refresher? No worries so did I… so I put a list together that helped me to remember. Maybe it will help you too!

    One of my favorite daily things to do is to find out if I have a special visitor for the day!!

    Here is a quick Special Visitor List. Make sure to take a look, there are some new ones since the game release in March 2020

    Who is your favorite visitor? Mine is Celeste, because she is an owl and she comes on my favorite type of nights. Star catching nights!!!

    If that isn’t enough to keep you busy then there is always flower breeding, hanging out with your villagers, traveling to other islands, visiting friends, and if you dare you can always go visit Harv (shivers)

    Speaking of visiting friends, I am super excited because this weekend an awesome group of streaming friends and I will be doing a private party to celebrate Halloween. Island tours, cataloging, fun treats and so much more!! I personally built a fun maze for my guests to do when they visit. Watch the party live on Twitch on my channel www.twitch.tv/smalltowndreamz this Saturday Oct 30th at 4 ET. Do you ever do fun events for your friends? Let us know in the comments!


    However, that is not the only event this weekend! That’s right. On Sunday Oct 31st the official spooky festivities begin in Animal Crossing from 5:00 PM to 12:00 AM. you can find Jack, the czar of Halloween, walking  around the plaza! Don’t miss out on your chance to get some great items that can only be received during this event!!

    With the new free update just around the corner here are just a few things you can look forward to like the long awaited Brewster’s Cafe, along with cooking, new crops, new furniture, new villagers and SO MUCH MORE!!!!!



    Enjoy and Happy Trick or Treating!!!!

    Category
    Games, News, Video Games
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    Book of Travels: First Look

    illustration of farmers relaxing in the field

    Well, well, well, what have we here? Another absolutely gorgeous game? Correct! Book of Travels is a brand new game from Might and Delight, a small studio out of Sweden with a knack for creating art. I’ve been eyeing this game for a few months now and am happy to be able to try it out and give you my two cents at launch! So, let’s dive right in.

    Venture out into a living, breathing fairytale world. Craft a character with its own unique personality and explore the open land however you choose. Set your own goals and shape your adventure alone or with the others you find in this serene online TMORPG (tiny multiplayer online).

    Might and Delight

    What is this game?

    Book of Travels is a multiplayer game but you won’t see as many people as you’re used to like an MMO. Instead, the game focuses on roleplaying and individual playstyles giving you the freedom to craft your own journey in the world. You will run into many randomly occurring events that make your play-through of the game unique and different every session.

    The game takes inspiration from “old-world fairytales, Eastern mythology, and early industrial eras.” There are tons of special secrets, items, and features to unlock as you play. 300+ abilities, magical skills, and passive feats to unlock and master will give you numerous ways to experience the game.

    And of course, this game is a playable piece of art. It has click-to-walk movement like old-school RPGs but with 3D depth.

    A solid first impression

    One early annoyance is that while the game launches from Steam it then launches a launcher for you to press play and then you have to also log in when the game itself launches. While none of this is difficult it’s just more steps in a process that should be more seamless. Hopefully, it’s something that changes in the future.

    Character creation for Book of Travels is an interesting process that felt more akin to creating a character for a tabletop RPG than your usual MMO or modern RPG. You immediately have portions of your character to flesh out on your own, completely freeform, to get you in the right mindset of creating an actual character outside what they look like or what their skills are. It’s a great first step to setting the mood.

    Character Creation screen for Book of Travels - first portion with the explanation of "Form"

    After getting into the game proper, it was interesting to see how the mechanics would work. Visually the game looks 2D until you start moving around into the back and foreground. The transition is so smooth and it absolutely amazes me. Sometimes pathing gets a little odd because of terrain that isn’t actually traversable but you’re never waiting on it long.

    As you might expect, if you’ve ever seen me play a game, I immediately went off into my own direction exploring instead of going where I was told to go. So I haven’t gotten past the first few areas. However, I’ve gotten pretty good and picking out what in the scenery is an interactable item! I did eventually make it onto the path the game wanted me to go down. I talked to every person and pet every animal along the way too. Which made me realize I wanted a space in a journal or something to write notes since there’s already functionality in the game to put your own text in things like background/appearance/etc. it’d be nice to implement something for us to keep notes on our character for what/who we encounter.

    Should You Add Book of Travels to Your Library?

    I had a great introduction to the game and there’s a lot for me to continue uncovering in the hours of gameplay to come. You should definitely head over to Steam and add it to your wishlist/follow it. Give Book of Travels a shot if you enjoy roleplaying games or if you think the art is striking. If you do give it a go, be sure to leave me a comment about your experience! Book of Travels releases October 11, 2021. I will report back once I’ve gotten further into the game, so look for a part two!

    Summer Catchers

    Time for an epic road trip!
    Summer Catchers title screen image, a silhouette of a girl looking out on the beach with sun and seagulls

    Jump in Chu’s wooden car for an adventure in Summer Catchers, a beautiful little game from Noodlecake Studios. Venture from the cold, snowy north down south in pursuit of warmer weather and sandy beaches. The best part is that you can pick your platform of choice: PC (Steam), Mac, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, or Android.

    Since I’ve been without my PC for a while, I requested a copy for the Switch to review (Thank the gods for mobile solutions!). I honestly didn’t have any idea what kind of game to expect, I was just drawn in by how pretty the screenshots were. Sue me, I like pretty games. And after playing several hours of it, I can report I am not at all disappointed!

    Chu from Summer Catchers meets a spectral elk in the forest. Text reads: "You met a beautiful sparkling spirit. What will be your next move?" Choice selections are "Close your eyes, trying to hide yourself" or "Come closer, trying to say hello"

    Pros and Cons

    Obviously, the biggest draw to this game is how gorgeous it is. I mean, look at it! Each of the different segments in the road trip has a different atmosphere and the art never stops being satisfying. The interface is clean and fits in with the style so well.

    The only con I can find to Summer Catchers is the repetitive nature of it. You race through different areas to complete tasks before moving on to the next segment of your journey. I feel this type of gameplay is really good for mobile applications and the Switch is definitely the largest platform I’d want to play something like this on. I’ve found it to be a great game for short spurts (under an hour) when I am just wanting to chill or waiting on something. I imagine it would be really good on a phone as the UI seems designed well for touch input.

    TLDR

    Gorgeous game! Pick up a copy of Summer Catchers on your phone or Switch to make waiting on your next appointment more enjoyable. Be sure to come back and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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    Academia: School Simulator

    Can you make school not suck?
    Art for Academia School Simulator of students in their classroom at their desks, chatting at listening to the lecture.

    Ever wanted to see if you could do a better job running the education system?! Well now you can with Academia: School Simulator! Let’s see if you can make it suck less than your actual high school did. Academia gives you all the tools you’ll need to design, build, and welcome in students, teachers, and staff. You’ll work towards goals to earn grant money and increase the reputation of your school, passing up any rival schools in the rankings (I hope). The game just released on steam so grab it while it’s fresh!

    First Impressions

    If you’ve watched the trailer or seen the game at all you’ll of course get some very familiar vibes from a game called Prison Architect, which is developed by a completely different company but has the same artist Personally, I haven’t played it and have limited experience watching the actual mechanics so I’ll have to leave it at face value. From what I’ve seen, however, I’d say Squeaky Wheel has done a good job of taking the style and making it their own.

    I really like this style of game. I like the art, I like the challenge of it, and overall I had a lot of fun playing it. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more of it and hope they continue adding to it over the months to come.

    Academia School SImulator setup screen

    Gameplay

    At the beginning of the game, you are able to choose all your school’s basic attributes: title, motto, colors, uniforms, principal type, and difficulty level. There is a decent amount of customization to change the gameplay and I started on just normal default to test things out. I didn’t really see a lot of tutorial type pop-ups or guidance but that could have been me not paying close enough attention. As a result, I felt a little thrown into the game ut since it’s not my first time playing a builder game it wasn’t too much of an issue. If you aren’t however it might take you a few minutes to get acquainted with the UI and hotkeys before you feel comfortable.

    Large school map for a build in Academia School Simulator

    In order to make money in the game, you will have to select grants and do the objectives to earn funding. You’ll have more money to start building with if you start on easy mode, which I highly recommend if you’re new to this style of game.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is build an office and hire your principal. There will be 15 students in each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) so you’ll build 1 classroom for each and hire a teacher for each school subject. Be sure to pay attention to the grants in your list so you know what you should be building/aiming for. Be sure you read everything because that’s where to tips are on how to find things in the UI!

    Check! Done! Woo!

    Do you like that dopamine hit of accomplishing goals and checking things off lists? If so you’ll love this game! Seriously, I was plowing my way through objectives for grants for the few hours I played. It felt gooooooood y’all! Very satisfying. I totally built my school in perhaps the most inefficient way possible but hey, it was still a fun time. Lessons were definitely learned for playing through it next time.

    End of year results for Academia School Simulator

    In addition, there are little scenarios and events that pop up throughout the game that give you a little extra to break things up and add something new. You’ll get an end of the year report to give you stats of how you did in several categories and give you a rank. A lot of information can be found out during the year via the different UI and charts.

    Aesthetics

    I really do like the graphics in this game. Everything is simplistic but nice and clean. Text is easy to read and nothing hurts my brain. There’s even a warning at the title screen which is animated to make it static to avoid dizziness/illness – something I greatly appreciate as someone who’s got pretty sensitive sim sickness.

    Grab yourself a copy!

    Grab yourself a copy on Steam or via my Humble Bundle (Disclaimer: I get a kickback, thanks guys)! Academia: School Simulator on sale for 30% off for the next 5 days!

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