New Style Boutique

_-Nintendo-Presents-New-Style-Boutique-3DS-2DS-_At first glance, New Style Boutique appears to be a game predominantly for younger girls. However after exhausting my 3DS demo, I finally caved in a purchased the game. Compared to the demo, the game mechanics are very different. The main plot of the game is that after moving to a new town, your character finds a job at a boutique fashion store owned by Evie. After working a few days, you are promoted to manager while the owner goes off and eventually establishes the fashion shows that are featured in the game demo.

The main game play aspects involve creating and picking outfits for clients, stocking and buying inventory from merchandisers as well as participating in nightly fashion shows. In addition to these activities done for the shore, players are able to customise their own character with clothes purchased through the merchandisers as well as makeup and hairstyles purchased at other stores throughout the city.

The game runs on an internal clock, based on a typical day in which only a limited number of activities can be achieved. Broken up into morning, day, night and late night, certain activities can only be accessed at certain times.

There are a variety of fashions available to players with styles ranging from chic, eastern, feminine, gothic, and glam just to name a few. The variety of clothes and the outfit combinations that players can create is only limited by the imagination. The mix of game play keeps New Style Boutique interesting and easily allows gamers to play for multiple (in game) days.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

nnd7The newest installment of the Animal Crossing series a ‘New Leaf‘, sees a return to the hand held with the game being released for the 3DS. Having been only recently made aware of the franchise, by the ‘coming soon’ trailers for the game, the rich history and back catalogue of the series was quickly researched. Having now played both the Animal Crossing ‘City Folk’ on the Wii and original Gamecube game, the developed and forever subtle nature of the series is one that has made quite an impression on me.

The game of every Animal Crossing but in particular ‘New Leaf,’ is in its very nature is subtle. Rather than logging numerous consecutive hours playing through a story, each Animal Crossing game is a simulation and town building game.  The gameplay is one that sees players returning for a small amount of time every day, in order to build, buy and sell objects to develop both the town and the players house. Rather than being boring, the gaming mechanism keeps its appeal long after the purchase of the game.

In regards to ‘New Leaf’ a new angle has been taken to further immerse players into the action with the player being mistaken as the new mayor. This elevated position is one that sees players being able to have a say in exactly how the town operates. Public projects such as windmills, lamp posts, a cafe and even the opening of a night club are all available to a player. A further way that ‘New Leaf’ is modifiable by the player is that players can dicate how they play. That is, through ordinances paid for by the player, the town shopping area can stay open later, or can open earlier, depending on the time in which user tend to play the game.

The most endearing element of the game franchise and ‘New Leaf’ are the characters. The animal characters that populate each tiny town each offer up a new look, perspective, speech type and room design. The interactions that can be had between player and animal are the most surprising as this gamer found herself feeling very strongly for the characters. At the news that one of my animals was considering leaving the town, I was panicked and upset that they would consider leaving. After informing the animal that they were still very much wanted in the town, the decision to stay was one that relieved.

Other more ‘special’ characters such as Isabelle (your secretary of sorts), KK Slider (the musician) Brewster (the caffeine dispensing pigeon), and the Able sisters (who make and distribute clothes) just to name all add to the intrinsic pleasure that this games gives players. If you have never heard of nor played an Animal Crossing game before, then now is the time to try as ‘New Leaf’ is one that delivers on simulation, home and heart. The number of hours spent playing this game, even if it is only for a few minutes a day, are all minutes well spent.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

ImageIt was not until the train ride home from The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses that I played my first Legend of Zelda game. The 64 bit adventures of Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and its accompanying soundtrack had nothing on the two and a half hour musical performance held at the Sydney Opera House.

Orchestrated by the Sydney Symphony and accompanied by Cantillation (an ensemble of singers), the Symphony of the Goddesses featured over eight songs and a four part symphony created from Japanese composer Koji Kondo’s music from the Legend of Zelda games. As well as the orchestration of these classic songs the event featured a large screen that played montages from the games above the players. The bringing to life of songs that I had only vaguely been familiar with proved to be both lovely and involving. One can only imagine the feelings of a true fan at such a event. Needless to say, the applause after each piece was powerful.

Hosted brilliantly by the casually charismatic Jason Michael Paul and conducted by the brilliant Irishwoman Eimear Noone the Symphony of the Goddesses included works from Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time and the soon to be re-released Wind Waker. As well as incorporating video from the games Noone, for the second movement of the symphony, conducted with a Wind Waker baton. Small details such as this and the cute repetitions of the chicken attacks from the games, was one that had the audience laughing and sighing nostalgically throughout.

Feeling somewhat an outsider, one who had until meeting my partner thought Zelda was the one wearing green tights, could only sit and marvel at the sheer brilliance of both the music and games. It was as the music of the Overture swelled and blended with the visuals, you could feel the collective held breath of the audience, let out only at the end in order to applaud and cheer wildly. The response from the audience was so much that no less than three encores were performed. The brilliant orchestra and the stunning visuals exhibited at the symphony is one that has won Nintendo another fan, as I could not look more forward to the infinitely cute Wind Waker re-release.

The set list was a follows:

Act 1

Overture

Dungeons

Kakariko Village – Hope and Calm

Songs of the Hero

Symphony

Prelude – The Creation

1. The Ocarina of Time

2. The Windwaker

Act 2

Fairy Fountain (2012)

Symphony

3. The Twilight Princess

4. Time of the Falling Rain.

Encores

Ballad of the Wind Fish

Geruda Valley

Majora’s Mask Medley

Little Inferno

LittleInfernoComingPut simply, Little Inferno is a game that lets you burn things.

This is, of course, all from the safety of your own home and without things such as burns, singed hair or arson charges.The ‘Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace’ is the name of the brand new addition to your house that, with the help of a catalogue where you order things to burn, allows you to keep yourself warm but to also stay, staring transfixed into the flames for much longer than you’d ever admit.

When I first encountered this game, a good three hours were spent watching my partner play it. Even though I wasn’t playing the game or experiencing the glee that it is to wave the electronic match, I was none the less engulfed by the need to watch everything as it burned. The next day when I had control of the Wii U, I spent no less than 4 hours wielding the flame and bringing destruction to all the creepy little objects.

What keeps you playing, aside from the morbid fascination of fire, is the combos of the game. Within each of the seven catalogues that you slowly unlock, there are combinations of certain items that you can complete. Delving deeper into the game, each time you burn an object you receive more money than what it cost to buy said object. Boggling logic, but it nevertheless is one that sees you quickly work through the catalogues.

Interwoven throughout all this however, is the storyline of the game. It may seem strange to have a storyline in a game such as this, but it is one that does make itself known. Don’t be mistaken, the concept and execution of the story is relatively simple but it is nonetheless poignant. The indie game developer ‘Tomorrow Corporation’ achieves this via letters that are sent to you in amongst your encouraged warmth. Without giving too much away, the presence of the girl next door is one that, at the peak of the game, is incredibly moving. Shocking even.

At first glance this game is all about the simple act of destroying things with fire, but there is a creepy and moving story at the heart of the game. Something dark is at play in this world but just like the character you play, you’re too wrapped up in the flames to become fully aware. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this deceptively simple game, and would not hesitate to recommend this indie title. 

An example of the creepiness can be seen in this in-game advertisement for the Little Inferno itself: