Casting Spells in Hocus Pocus The Game

For my birthday, my friend bought me the Hocus Pocus board game. I was skeptical at first because it seemed the game was catered to kids. As we played a couple of rounds of the game, we learned how challenging this game was and how it stuck to the source material. Since my first time playing, I still have yet to win a game against the trio of witches.

Hocus Pocus is a collaborative game in which players must stun the Sanderson witches three times before the sun rises. If the sun rises before this is completed, the players lose along with running out of potion ingredients to draw. This seems to be a simple explanation, however the game is more challenging than that.

Missing all the ingredients we needed!

The challenging part comes from the lack of visibility of available ingredients. Cards in a player’s hand are kept secret. To begin a turn, I would ask a question to my friend to determine what color or ingredient type she has in her hand. The only way to see her hand entirely is to play an ingredient with Binx the cat on it. This allows one player to reveal their whole hand. It’s difficult to collaborate when you can’t actively speak to each other.

Binx is here to save us!

There are three ways to stun a witch. An example of stun is to have five different potion ingredients, but they’re the same color. The same witch can be stunned three times in a row. Besides being unable to speak with other players, it’s difficult to coordinate the ingredients to align with the stun for a witch. In multiple games, we were missing an ingredient and weren’t able to draw the ingredient we needed, so we lost the game.

I’m impressed with the Hocus Pocus game. The game is easy to learn and each game takes anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes. The game says it’s for six-year-old kids, but as a twenty six-year-old who’s obsessed with Halloween, I loved every second of playing this game. Hocus Pocus has a lot of childhood memories for me and it was awesome to be able to relive them. Additionally, I like how this is a collaborative game. It’s a great way to teach younger kids the importance of working with others.

Hocus Pocus is a fun, spooky game that’s family-friendly or the game to bring out during the Spooky season. I still haven’t managed to win this game, but the challenge has been accepted.

Suicide Squad + Gotham Knights

One of my beloved games of all time is Batman Arkham Asylum. This game was released in 2009 when I was a nerdy and awkward freshman in high school. This game helped me get through my toughest moments in high school. Rocksteady is a company where as soon as I find out they’re making another game, I pre-order it instantaneously. Rocksteady is making a Suicide Squad Game while Warner Brothers is making a Gotham Knights game My heart is exploding with excitement. I’m going to briefly discuss each game along with linking the trailers.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Suicide Squad trailer

From the trailer, it looks like Superman has turned evil and it’s up to the ragtag team to save Metropolis. Harley Quinn’s look in this game is flawless. She is stylish, not overtly sexual and the game captures her personality in the short four-minute glimpse of the trailer. Besides Harley Quinn, I like Deadshot’s new suit. This game also features both Killer Shark and Captain Boomerang. The music playing through the trailer is hip and fits the overall theme of the Suicide Squad.

I’m curious how the mission set up will be. Will certain missions be played by certain characters, or will I get to pick who I want to be? Both options would work as long as I have equal gameplay between all four characters.

From the trailer, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be released in 2022.

Gotham Knights

Bruce Wayne is dead along with Detective Gordon. Gotham is in flames and someone has to step up to avenge Bruce and save Gotham. It’s about time the Bat-Family is introduced into this series of games. In Batman: Arkham Knight, there is limited gameplay of Nightwing and Tim Drake, but this game takes this to a whole new level.

Batgirl is seen throughout the trailer dive-bombing into alleyways. Batgirl is the best female heroine in DC Comics. This game has adopted her best look which is the yellow combat boots and the zipped up purple jumpsuit. Red Hood even makes an appearance. He’s a nice addition considering most of the characters are sneaky and Red Hood can go into a fight scene with his guns raised.

Gotham Knights will be released in 2021.

Before ending this post, I do want to discuss how Rocksteady is under fire for sexual harassment. The gaming industry is notoriously toxic to women, women of color, and non-binary or gender non-conforming folks. It’s a reminder of how the gaming industry still needs to be upfront with these issues and resolve to do better.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and Gotham Knights are incredible. Rocksteady knows how to make decent DC games. I’m anxiously awaiting the day I can play as Batgirl.

Hidden Through Time Review

Hidden Through Time

Hidden Through Time was a game I purchased in my latest Steam haul. Every review I read for this game was positive. I wanted a chill game to play during the week after I got off of work. Hidden Through Time didn’t dissatisfy as it was a well-made and challenging hidden objects game.

There isn’t an actual story to Hidden Through Time. There are a series of maps under one theme in history. In these maps, there is a select group of objects to find. I was a perfectionist meaning I wouldn’t move on to the next map until I found every single object. However, the next map unlocks after a certain quota of objects was met. If I was truly stuck, I could move onto the next map without finding all the objects. As mentioned above, I didn’t do that because I was focused in completing each level before moving on.

Ancient Egypt Map. Screenshot taken by me during gameplay.

This game interested my fiance too. I would be playing this on our couch while he watched the nightly news. He would look at my screen and help me find the objects. Hidden Through Time isn’t a two-player game, but now and then my fiance became intrigued and would sit and help me locate the objects.

Hidden Through Time is a challenging game. Some of the levels went quicker, where some levels took at least fourty five minutes to complete. I never felt Hidden Through Time was “too hard” or the objects were placed in a way where I would have never found them on my own. If I hover my mouse over the objects themselves, there are cleverly written hints pointing to where the object might be. The hints don’t give away the object’s location, but it gave me an idea as to where the object is.

As far as replayability, the levels can be replayed. There is an online version to Hidden Through Time where players have made their own maps. I played a couple of them. The online play is mostly positive. There was one castle map which took me and my fiance forever to complete. Other maps were clearly made to be extremely easy. It added another hour or so of extra game play to play through the online maps.

Hidden Through Time is a game that helped me unwind after work. It served the purpose of being a game where I didn’t have to put all of my energy into playing. It was rewarding finding an object I was stuck on and couldn’t find. There is a Vikings DLC expansion to the game probably including more maps. I would purchase this DLC in a heartbeat. Hidden Through Time is available for purchase on Steam.

Nancy Drew Ghost of Thornton Hall

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I became inspired to revisit the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive. Steam has almost all of the Nancy Drew games available for purchase. I picked Nancy Drew Ghost of Thornton Hall as it was highly rated. The Nancy Drew games are challenging, engaging , and slightly scary.

In this outing, Nancy is summoned to Thornton Hall to find a missing girl named Jessalyn. In the process of looking for her, Nancy learns about Thornton Hall and the Thornton family. Charlotte Thornton was a family member who died in a mysterious house fire long ago. Many of the NPC’s (non-playable characters) warn you of her ghost roaming the premises. This ties into the mystery of locating Jessalyn while simultaneously uncovering why Charlotte is still haunting the grounds.

For anyone who has never played a Nancy Drew game before, I have a couple of hints to share. My first hint is taking a break. Some of the puzzles are time-consuming. I would play this game for 2-3 hours at a time and I found myself getting frustrated if I couldn’t figure out the puzzle. In turn, this led me to utilizing a walkthrough versus trying to solve the puzzle on my own.

My second hint is noting the importance of the information that’s given. Honestly, it might be worth it to take notes. One of the final puzzles in the game is unlocking a briefcase. To open the briefcase, the code can be solved based on the Thornton family history. I found myself failing multiple times as I didn’t have this information written down in front of me.

Another hint I have is being prepared for jump scares. Charlotte as a ghost appears when she wants and the music accompanying the game helps to establish the eery atmosphere. I didn’t find the jump scares to be too obnoxious, but it’s enough where I genuinely jumped as Charlotte appeared. Additionally, there are moments where if you press the wrong button, Nancy can be killed in a booby trap. It adds to the tone of the game.

Since purchasing Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall, I have already put 11.4 hours into the game. I’m re-playing the game on master sleuth which increases the difficulty of the puzzles and eliminates the game offering hints. I haven’t played the other Nancy Drew games, but Ghost of Thornton Hall is a well-made, introductory game into the series. Nancy Drew Ghost of Thornton Hall can be purchased and downloaded on Steam.

Nancy Drew & My Latest Steam Purchase

One of the most entertaining streamers I subscribe to is Meg Turney. Meg streams on Twitch but uploads her streams to Youtube. Meg has been streaming Dead by Daylight along with the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive. These streams inspired me to purchase one of the Nancy Drew games on Steam along with a couple of other games as well.

Nancy Drew Ghost of Thornton Hall

Image screenshotted by me in Steam.

The Nancy Drew games are aimed at younger girls, but these games are still relevant as an adult. In this game, Nancy is summoned to Thornton Hall to investigate the disappearance of Jessalyn. As Nancy explores the house, she needs to find Jessalyn while also escaping the ghost who’s following her.

This game is scary. There were a couple of jump scares and the music is incredibly eery. The house itself is booby-trapped and I accidentally killed Nancy a couple of times. I’m still in awe of how I played this as a kid because this game is scary as an adult.

I’m having a blast playing through this game and I do intend on purchasing other Nancy Drew games on Steam.

Hidden Through Time

Hidden Through Time.

Hidden Through Time is a hide and seek game with objects being hidden across different levels. Any review I have read regarding this game has been positive. This sounds like a game I would play after work during the week to relieve stress.

After playing through Nancy Drew, I plan on playing through this game.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Ace Attorney

I have always wanted to play a Phoenix Wright game. I know this game came out on DS back in the early 2000s, but I didn’t get my 3DS until 2013. This game features a young defense attorney named Phoenix Wright who tries to free his clients.

I didn’t want to look up any other spoilers before playing the game myself, but the premise of the game is intriguing.

That’s the end of my Steam haul. There are quite a few games left on my wishlist still, but overall, I’m happy with my latest purchase. Purchasing games on Steam allows me a break from the console games I play on weekends. I’m always in need of game recommendations from Steam, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below.

Iden Versio & the Infernal Squad: Battlefront II

I tend to avoid online, multiplayer games. The hatred coming from online players is enough for me to stay clear. However, I made an exception for Star Wars Battlefront II. The fiance received Star Wars Battlefront II as a gift for his birthday and as I watched him play, I realized this game might be something I would like. A month has passed, and I’m already at level #28. In between online multiplayer matches, I was also playing through the Star Wars Battlefront campaign which stars Iden Versio & her Infernal squad. I’m pleasantly surprised to say the campaign rocked.

Star Wars Battlefront II takes place immediately after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. The campaign follows Iden Versio, a commander of the Inferno Squad, an Imperial Special Forces unit. Iden’s team goes through several missions together which contorts Iden’s views of the Empire. There’s not much else I can say without spoilers, but the campaign does allow you to play as major characters in the Star Wars universe.

I went into this campaign with low expectations. Usually, multiplayer games including a story mode are mediocre. The major highlight of this game was Iden Versio. I thought she was an excellent main character as she’s smart, sophisticated, and has a grey moral compass. She has to contemplate her relationship to the Empire after major decisions are made. She isn’t a villain, but I wouldn’t call her a hero either. Her comrade, Del, is another character featured in the story. The professional relationship between Iden and Del develops over the course of the campaign.

The missions were pretty short but fulfilling. At first, I hated the flying missions, but after a while, I found I was enjoying flying in Iden’s tie-fighter. It takes a little bit to get used to. Some of the missions felt nostalgic as they returned to familiar planets with our favorite characters. The voice acting for Luke, Lando, and Leia was decent. The only character I felt was slightly off was Anakin. His voice doesn’t even sound like Hayden Christiansen.

My one minor complaint with Battlefront II is the dismissal of the prequels. Padme isn’t a playable character which is mildly annoying. Padme could have easily been included with several outfits with her blaster. I could see her having special abilities related to the officer of boosting her teammates with health bonuses. In defense of Battlefront II, the game was meant to boost the new Star Wars movies being released by Disney, so the prequels weren’t something that had to be addressed.

Battlefront II is one of the games I will remember as a game getting me through Covid-19. Any Star Wars fan will be thrilled at flying a tie-fighter or entering into battle with Obi-Wan. Battlefront II can be played on Xbox One, PS4, or Microsoft Windows.

Kalamax, the Ultimate Dinosaur

Last month, I spent $250 on Magic the Gathering cards. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “how could she spend that much money on cardboard.” Magic the Gathering is the only deck-building game I’m currently playing and I wanted new cards from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set. Plus, I spent this money at my local game store and during a time like this, we need to support local businesses. In my Magic the Gathering haul, I bought three commander decks. I was able to play Kalamax, the Stormsire who is the ultimate MtG dinosaur.

Kalamax: the Elemental Dinosaur.

Before I begin this discussion, there’s one point I need to make. Wizards of the Coast has been under fire recently for racism and mistreatment for their African American employees and players. Wizards of the Coast needs to hire more POC writers and illustrators to alleviate this situation. By buying the Ikoria set, I did provide profit to my local game store along with Wizards. Since this is the case, I will link at the end of my post a couple of charities to donate to because Black Lives Matter.

Kalamax, the Stormsire is the commander in this Ikoria commander deck. Kalamax has a converted mana cost of four for a 4/4 elemental dinosaur. Kalamax aims to attack other players as this activates the special ability. If Kalamax is tapped, whenever an instant or sorcery spell is played, the spell is copied. Whenever a spell is copied, Kalamax receives a +1/+1 counter. Kalamax’s main goal is to copy spells I play which in turn makes Kalamax more powerful.

When I first played this deck, it was unorganized. I had to spend time planning out my turns to make sure I played my spells in the correct order. After a few turns, I was able to catch on how I needed to play Kalamax to make this card the most effective. I played with a friend of mine and I almost lost to her cat deck. Somehow, I managed to defeat her after killing her cats and boosting Kalamax. I ended up swinging at my opponent with Kalamax being at 25/25. There’s a land in the deck that allows me to give Kalamax trample. Trample means even if Kalamax is blocked by creatures, Kalamax can still “trample” over the creatures and hit the player with life.

Kalamax is a blast to play. The deck is already built and it runs well which means I didn’t need to purchase any other cards to play it right away. This deck is ideal for any players who plays instant or sorcery cards. If you’re a beginner to Magic, this deck may be challenging to play at first, but after a couple of practice games, you will be able to thrash through your opponents to win the game. Kalamax, the Stormsire can be purchased online or at any local game store. It’s retailed at $41.99 if you purchase the deck at Target. Prices may vary depending on where the deck is purchased.

As I discussed, here’s the link to ways to help the Black Lives Matter movement. If you’re not able to financially give, there are other ways to help. This includes voting, signing petitions, protesting, and other resources to be an ally in this movement.

Saving Halloween in Costume Quest II

Costume Quest 2 **image from Steam**

During Quarantine, I bought Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass has over 100 console and PC games to play. Besides more popular games, there are quite a few indie titles here as well. I recently downloaded What Remains of Edith Finch, but I also finished playing Costume Quest 2. Costume Quest 2 is one of my favorite games I played in 2020 because it appeals to my joy towards Halloween.

Twins Wren and Reynold are getting ready to trick or treat on Halloween night. Suddenly, dentist Dr. Orel White teams up with a time wizard to go back in time while also unleashing orc-like creatures on their town. The goal for Dr. White is to rid the world of Halloween forever. This can’t happen because Halloween is the best holiday that’s not a holiday. Wren and Reynold jump around in time to stop the infamous dentist and bring Halloween back.

Costume Quest 2 is made by Double Fine Presents. Costume Quest 2 was my first Double Fine Presents game, so I did a little research on the company. In 2019, Double Fine Presents became absorbed by Microsoft Game Studios, so they sadly won’t be making any more games. I’m disappointed as this studio is one I’m watching for. I followed the developer on Steam as I do want to play more games they made.

One of my favorite parts of the game is the battles. As you encounter the orcs, you enter into battle with your Halloween costumes. Each Halloween costume has a different ability. My personal favorites were the dinosaur, the pharaoh, and the wizard. The battles themselves remind me of Pokemon battles as you take turns using your attack move until you build enough to use your special move. There are also attack cards that provide additional bonuses in the game. I forgot to use them when I had them, but they did help me win my battles.

I’m an achievement hunter by trade and I liked that most of the achievements were fairly easy to unlock. I’m only missing one, but it’s a difficultl achievement, so I do intend on going back in the game and playing it on a harder difficulty setting.

I cannot recommend Costume Quest 2 enough. If you love Halloween as much as I do, this game has to be on your gameplay list. I love this game so much that I would buy this game on Steam to play it again. Steam does have the first Costume Quest game where the Xbox Game pass does not. If I do play both games, I will buy the Steam bundle where you can buy both for only $20.

Dating Monsters in Monster Prom

In Quarantine, I was looking for new games to play to occupy my time. I’m playing Jedi Fallen Order currently and while I’m enjoying the game, it’s a game that’s best to be played on weekends. I was looking for more casual PC games to play during the week where if I had a stressful workday, these games would relax me. Monster Prom fills this fix as it’s the perfect casual game to play during the week.

Monster Prom is a game in which you have three weeks to secure a date to prom. The exception is you’re a monster at a high school filled with other monsters. During each round, you can pick which part of the high school to interact at which allows your predetermined monster to socialize with the other monsters. At each social interaction, your character makes a choice and this choice earns you hearts with the monsters. The more hearts you have, the more likely that when you ask this monster to prom, they will say yes.

Monster Prom is a well made, dating simulator game. In the character creation, you can pick your pronouns and it includes they as a non-binary pronoun. This is a small feature to add, but it leads to gamers feeling more accepted while playing the game. All the monsters are unique in their own way. Damien is the angry devil, while Liam is a hipster vampire. The monsters combine high school stereotypes with their monster counterparts.

While playing through Monster Prom, there are secret endings to unlock. The secret endings are the prom outcomes for example if you’re date says yes or if you’re left without a date for prom. Combined with the Steam achievements allows more replay in the game.

Monster Prom is a fun dating simulator game with detailed dialogue and interesting monster characters. Let me know if you have played Monster Prom in the comments below. If so, let me know who your favorite monster is. Monster Prom can be purchased on Steam for $11.99.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Last Friday, I spent four hours and drank four hard seltzers to beat Kingdom Hearts 3. Kingdom Hearts is known for having brutal boss battles and Kingdom Hearts 3 is no different. I almost quit, but I persisted and I finally defeated Master Xehanort. Since completing Kingdom Hearts 3, I wanted to reflect on my favorite levels and general thoughts about the game.

Kingdom Hearts 3 shows our memorable key wielder Sora as his strength is at an all-time low. He travels with his companions, Donald and Goofy to regain his strength and learn the “power of waking” the ability to restore lost hearts. It’s revealed how Sora has Roxas’s heart along with two other hearts bound to his. This power will be useful to prevent Xehanort from opening Kingdom Hearts casing the world in darkness.

Look how cute Sora is!? He looks like a toy. Image belongs to Square Enix.

Kingdom Hearts 3 has levels in many of the newest worlds from recent movies. Olympus and Port Royal make a reappearance, along with new levels from Toy Story, Monster’s Inc, Tangled, and Big Hero 6. The best level was the Toy Story level. Starting in Andy’s house, the toys make their way to a major toy store. Sora can enter these gigantic toy robots to fight heartless while wandering the toy store. As a 90’s baby who grew up with older Pixar movies, Kingdom Hearts 3 appeals to my nostalgia for these movies.

The last level is where all the boss battles begin. Sora has to fight his way through all the major characters in Organization XIII. When I reached the final battle, I had leveled up Sora to level #43. In the future, I would have stayed on the Big Hero 6 level for longer to level up Sora to be more prepared for taking on Organization XIII. Before taking on Xehanort, I would recommend having at least 4+ hours of free time. There’s one final save point before entering the town and entering into Xehanort’s territory. Kingdom Hearts 3 has designated save points and you don’t want to lose progress in the fight and have to redo it.

Ultimately, Kingdom Hearts 3 is filled with nostalgia. The story isn’t the main reason why I play this series. I play for the characters including Sora with Aqua being my favorite key wielder. Besides the Toy Story level, I liked the Monster’s Inc level too. I’m impressed with the voice acting in this game. Without having the original voice actors, the characters do sound like the original characters from the movies. Kingdom Hearts 3 was worth the wait.