Paper Mario: Color Splash

More video game reviews can be found here.

Series: Mario, Paper Mario
Genre: RPG
Developer: Intelligent Systems Co., Ltd
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Platforms: Wii U

Paper Mario: Color SplashLet’s Player: Olizandri

I’d heard some pretty scathing critiques about this latest Paper offering’s battle system. but it’s still a Paper Mario, still a Mario RPG, and I wanted to see if the mechanics weren’t too wonky to overlook or if the rest of the experience would override an overly complicated card clash.

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Final Fantasy A Crystal Compendium – Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy III Review

This article is part of a community-wide project about Final Fantasy. Links to other articles in this series, written by the other contributors can be found in the main hub area.

Final Fantasy Reviews

<–Final Fantasy II Review                                           Final Fantasy IV Review–>

This is the part of a long-term project to play and review/analyze all the Final Fantasy games.  Whenever possible, I will play the original version, but in cases where it’s not available and/or there are time constraints, I’ll use a port and/or watch a Let’s Play, both of which contingencies will be indicated in the review.  Ideally, I will attempt to play a portion so that I can remark more accurately on the gameplay experience.  These will be long-form reviews with detailed plot analyses, so please be wary if you do not want spoilers.

Greetings, salutations and Happy New Year to you all.  I am slowly working my way through the Final Fantasy titles and have recently completed the third installment.  I have been giving much thought to going back and playing the re-releases of I and II especially since I received a $200 Best Buy gift card in addition to a $50 Amazon one and could conceivably purchase both the system I might need and the games, but I’m still in the thinking phase, and today I’m in the review one for III.

Final Fantasy III cover

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Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1)

Title: Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Series Title: Locke & Key
Author: Joe Hill
Illustrator: Gabriel Rodriguez
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: July 3, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural/Paranormal, Graphic Novel
Recommended By: Cupcakes and Machetes

Pages: 168
Publication Date: September 29, 2008
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Media: Paperback

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

 This book had some big shoes to fill since the last graphic novel series I finished was Saga (and I’m still impatiently waiting for Volume 8 to come out in January).  Once I became used to the different art style though, I realized the excellent creepiness of the story.  The beginning is a bit confusing with how it jumps back and forth between the then and now, a very important distinction since the demarcation is a horrendously tragic event.  There’s some obfuscation on who the central character of the story is going to be, and though there’s a little bit of point of view switching, the protagonist is most decidedly Bode (whose name I’m not sure how to pronounce.  As is?  Boh-dee?) instead of his older brother who captures more of the focus at the beginning, but is much more of a minor character with Kinsey, the sister, filling a more important role in both the present and the past.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1)

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Date Added: May 11, 2016
Date Started: August 24, 2016
Date Finished: September 25, 2016

Pages: 428
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Media Type: Paperback

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The instant I picked this novel up in the bookstore, I required it.  The mystery of it tingled along the cover promising a grand read to come.  While I didn’t say so above, there is a horror element to the story, though I doubt anyone would ever officially categorize it as so.  I was unsettled by many aspects, and this feeling was augmented by the photographs contained therein, photographs the author obtained (legally) from unknown sources, and as he didn’t know their origin, decided to weave threads of story between them.  This was a nice touch even as though it gave some false impressions that the chapter was coming to an end.

To give too much away would be to ruin the narrative.  It follows Jacob Portman, a young man who witnesses a terrible tragedy that completely changes his life.  This event is the impetus for his adventures in a Welsh orphanage where his grandfather supposedly grew up. What he finds there defies belief, and yet he, too, is a part of it in a way that may have been kept hidden for Jacob’s own good.

There are some critiques that the peculiarity of the children is similar to that of the X-Men, and the special house set up for them does nothing to topple that observation, nor does its special “teacher.”  However, this is no way diminishes the narrative since children with special powers is a fairly common trope (Eleven anyone?).

The children themselves were a bit difficult to keep track of, and I constantly forgot what name went with which power.  Barring a few, there could’ve been more character development on their end to make differentiation a bit easier.  Only Jacob and a few others receive the benefit of a discernible personality, but the novel’s many other attributes make up for this.

Like many other YA novels, this one comes equipped with two more books to make a trilogy.  I’ve already added Hollow City to my reading list, which picks up right where Miss Peregrine leaves off.

The prose isn’t your typical fare for YA in the least.  There’s a lyrical flow to it, which not only enticed me to purchase the book, but kept me reading into the night where the shadows presented by the stories could grow quite long.

4 stars.



By the Sea by Katherine McIntyre

Title: By the Sea
Author: Katherine McIntyre
Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 77
Publication Date: June 13, 2014
Media Type: Kindle

“Most kids had imaginary friends, but most weren’t like Megan’s friend Niall. There were rules: only at night and only by the sea. She could’ve sworn he was real, but when someone vanishes without a trace, what else can you believe?

All that was seven years ago, buried in the past until Niall shows up in town with his tight swimmer’s body and easy smile. For Megan, just the sight of him is enough to tear open a scar that never fully healed. However, their reunion only elicits more questions. Niall’s keeping secrets, unbelievable ones, and as Megan delves into the supernatural depths of who he really is, she’s sure he’ll vanish again.

Megan’s not stupid—she knows how bad it’ll hurt if she gets involved. The first time Niall disappeared, she never thought she’d recover. But the moment they lock eyes, it’s too late—because Megan will go to any length to see that boy smile.”

I generally hate surprises unless it comes to stories. Being well versed in general mythology, I know the lore about selkies: human to seal shapeshifters who leave their seal pelts behind when the change. This leaves them vulnerable to theft of their true identity, for a selkie without his seal skin is only half whole. This is the foundation of By the Sea.

Like many young girls Megan has an imaginary friend; the only difference is hers is real. Then he disappears making Megan doubt her sanity and her worth. Now several years later, while working as a waitress, she notices something odd about her new coworker, and it doesn’t take her long to realize he’s her “imaginary friend” Niall. Initially angry and betrayed until Niall explains the reason for his desertion and also entreats her for help in restoring him to his full self.

I was pleasantly surprised by the twist in this story, for I’ve never seen this combination of fae before. The antagonist is terrifying and makes the story take quite a dark turn, putting both Niall and Megan in horrifying danger, and shattering her perceptions of the real world.

This story is well written with an almost whimsical tone to begin. The language leads you to think of the sea, breathy and light to glide alongside the loss the main character feels. The tension is heightened beautifully at the dire moments where you feel the same terror as the characters, doubly Megan whose suddenly thrown into a world she never knew existed. Their romance is sweet and almost childlike, as if Megan is still dealing with unresolved issues from that time, but it fits perfectly due to Niall’s true nature. They can both grow together. Him in the aftermath, no longer trapped but a willing denizen of her sphere, and her now privy to the secrets of his nature.

5 stars.




Child of Light

Spoilers are marked.

I convinced my husband to download Child of Light not long after its release date of April 30, 2014. It was a late birthday present. The instant I saw the trailer, I knew I had to own this game.

Even now after finishing, this still gives me chills. I love, love, LOVE fairytales and Child of Light is reminiscent of Snow White, which is one of my favorites. There are also shades of Sleeping Beauty (Disney’s version named the princess “Aurora,” too) and Pan’s Labyrinth, as well.

So…this review shall be in three parts, and in three parts shall be this review.  Gameplay and music and best of all story shall all be showcased for you.  For now I present Child of Light without any further ado.

Child of Light is a 2D platforming, puzzle RPG developed by Ubisoft Montreal (which is exactly why all of the French names now make sense) and published by Ubisoft. It was released for PS4, PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PS Vita.

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Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy II Review

Final Fantasy Reviews

<–Final Fantasy (I) Review                                          Final Fantasy III Review–>

This is the part of a long-term project to play and review/analyze all the Final Fantasy games.  Whenever possible, I will play the original version, but in cases where it’s not available and/or there are time constraints, I’ll use a port and/or watch a Let’s Play, both of which contingencies will be indicated in the review.  Ideally, I will attempt to play a portion so that I can remark more accurately on the gameplay experience.  These will be long-form reviews with detailed plot analyses, so please be wary if you do not want spoilers.

Welcome to the second installment of Final Fantasy Fridays where I have undertaken the momentously arduous, albeit enjoyable and enlightening, task of reviewing ALL of the Final Fantasies. Now I’m aware it has been six months since I posted my review of Final Fantasy (I) (um…obviously not here since I just updated that, but,eh, see the foreword above), and at this pace it will take me five years to merely go from I to X, but I was busy with editing my FFVII fanfiction Northern Lights, so the time was not spent in vain. I will attempt to up my play/review rate, but I make no promises against distraction when writing needs to be done.

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