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Kingdom New Lands

Simple, challenging, and beautiful. Kingdom New Lands is a side scroller that focuses on resource management and self-preservation. The art design of this game is just stunning, with a beautiful pixelated style. You are a queen, and you have only three things: your crown, your steed, and your coinpurse.

Progression comes from investing money into different areas of the island to create watchtowers, walls, farms and more, offering peasants you find on the island a gold coin to join your cause, buying tools for the people to use in order to work for your kingdom, and collecting the profits that are made by the various characters under your rule.

But it isn’t all building and profiteering … once the night comes, it begins. Every night your kingdom will be attacked by gruesome monsters called the Greed. They hunt mercilessly for possessions – they will attack your people and steal their tools, their money, and your money as well if they are able to attack you. But if your coinpurse is empty and you get hit by one of these monstrous creatures? Your crown will be knocked from your head, and if they get their hands on it, it’s game over for you!

I have really enjoyed this style of gameplay, as well as the very real challenge the game offers you. As each day passes by, more and more of the Greed emerge from their portals to attack you, meaning that if you don’t pay enough attention to your defensive structures and army, you will soon find yourself getting overrun – which can be a devastatingly difficult situation to come back from. And this is not the only issue you will face. Eventually, winter will arrive, and your crop fields will die off, leaving your farmers with nothing to do and your kingdom with very little income.

There are a number of different islands, and you can travel between them by rebuilding a shipwreck on the island – something which will require no short amount of gold coins. But once you have successfully got it in ship-shape and docked, you may depart the island at any point to move on to a new island.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the game, it is a small one after all – but it still ticks plenty of boxes for me. Beautiful visuals, fantastic soundtrack, satisfying challenge.


  • Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android
  • Release Date: 21/10/2015
  • Genre: Strategy
Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 11 – Opal

Lockie didn’t even have a chance to heal her Pokémon before being dragged into a commotion! The obnoxious Bede seems to be up to no good, and Lockie could do nothing but watch as Stow-On-Side’s famous mural crumbles under the force of Bede’s attacks!



It isn’t long before Bede is brought to justice and disqualified from the Gym Challenge! Lockie soon moves on to continue with her own Challenge and makes her way towards the Glimwood Tangle.

Deep within this dark thicket, Lockie found no shortage of trainers to battle, and plenty of wild Pokémon too. The first one to jump out at Lockie was a wild Shiinotic – and after a careful battle, it was successfully captured!


Sheila the Shiinotic joins Lockie’s team.

Lockie eventually reaches the other side of the Glimwood Tangle, and finds herself in the glowing village of Ballonlea. It’s a small place, but quite breathtaking in its own way. Lockie watches in awe as the wild Pokémon wander about the village quite happily, playing with the locals as they pass by. But she soon set her sights on her next destination – the Gym.



Whilst fighting through the forest, two members of the team evolved – Duncan and Stewart.



Jumping straight into the Gym, Lockie is surprised to discover that the mission in this particular Gym is actually an audition, as Opal is looking to retire as Ballonlea’s Gym leader! This must be the first time that Lockie has had to battle whilst answering questions shouted at her from afar.






Opal proved to be a tough ordeal for Lockie’s team – Duncan the Excadrill managed to sweep the majority of his opponents, but Alcremie almost got the better of him! In fact, it took three different Pokémon to take her down!


Eventually Lockie claimed victory, and without suffering any casualties! Although she earned her next badge, she was informed by Opal that she didn’t have the right stuff for the position. Just as well, seeing as she didn’t actually want the job!


As Lockie prepares to set off for Hammerlocke once more, Opal approaches her and offers her company for the road as she claims to have business there as well. And now Lockie must prepare to make her way to Circhester. The next Gym Leader specialises in ice types, so Lockie will be changing the team up once again.



Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 10 – Allister

It’s the day of Lockie’s next gym challenge. Her opponent today is Allister – a strange boy who specialises in ghost type Pokémon. The challenge in this particular gym is an unusal sort of teacups ride, with a few trainers to battle along the way.

It’s a good opportunity for Lockie to test some of her new friends, so Stewart the Skorupi and Tiffany the Toxtricity joined the party specially for the gym. Stewart struggled to keep up slightly, but Tiffany blasted her opponents away with her electric attacks!


Lockie breezes through the Stow-On-Side gym challenge.

Lockie and Allister face off before battle.

Lockie wipes away Allister’s starting line-up without breaking a sweat, and before long the battlers are already preparing to send out their final Pokémon.




Madeleine faces off against Allister’s Gengar, and both are quickly dynamaxed, creating a monstrous scene between two enormous brutes.



Madeleine was able to weather the barrage of attacks from the Gengar, and took him down with her amplified max attacks! And so Lockie won her fourth gym badge, from the eerie youth, Allister.


Lockie earns her fourth Gym badge.

After the intense battle, Deirdre evolved into a Dusclops! This means Deirdre is now something of a tank in the party – something that will surely come in handy later in the adventure.


Deirdre evolves into a formidable Dusclops.

Lockie will now have to prepare for the next gym, located in Ballonlea, which specialises in fairy type Pokémon. Rowena the Corviknight is put back into the party, as her steel typing will prove to be advantageous, and Duncan the Drilbur is also coming along – once Lockie evolves him into Excadrill, he will gain the steel type as well.

But first, it seems there is some trouble brewing in Stow-On-Side …


PART 11 – OPAL


Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


part 9 – To Stow-on-side

Once our leading lady has finished her business in Hammerlocke, Lockie leaves the city behind her to press on to the next step of the Gym Challenge, Stow-On-Side. It is there that she shall face Allister the ghost type user.


Lockie admires all the sights of Hammerlocke before leaving.

Our hero has barely stepped outside the city bounds before she runs into Team Yell! Unsurprisingly, they start kicking up a fuss at the sight of Lockie, and a battle is soon underway.


Team Yell attempts to stir up trouble again.

With those goons dealt with, Lockie presses on into a brand new route, and she finds herself catching the first Pokémon she encounters, a Duskull. She then named her Deirdre. She should prove to be a valuable addition to the team, being a ghost type, and having excellent defences!


Deirdre the Duskull joins the party.

Throughout this route and during training for the gym challenge, there were a couple of evolutions on the team. Lockie truly has a formidable team at this point!



It isn’t long before Lockie arrives at the dusty town of Stow-On-Side, and she has some time to take in the sights before the gym challenge. She takes the time to browse the outdoor markets and poke around the empty alleyways, and then in front of the Gym Stadium she bumps into Hop, and it is there that the two youths battle – no problem at all for Lockie’s team.



PART 10 – ALLISTER


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Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


Part 8 – En route to Hammerlocke

Three badges in hand, Lockie is almost halfway through her Gym Challenge. But there is still a long road ahead, and it’s a long way to Hammerlocke. Crossing the Wild Area will take some time, and hopefully Lockie’s team can make it through all in one piece.

With several new routes to traverse, that means Lockie has the chance to catch some brand new team members, and she managed to do just that.



A well rounded bunch, with lots of different typings, each of these new additions will surely prove themselves useful at some stage of Lockie’s journey. For now, Vincent has been added to the team to get some training, as Lockie needs to have a reliable fire type now that we have had to say goodbye to Gloria the Growlithe.

Hammerlocke and the areas beyond will provide a much greater challenge than all the areas we have seen so far, so the team has had a lot of training to get everyone up to scratch. During this training, Chester and Beatrice both evolved!



As Lockie finally closed in on the city, a thunderstorm erupted all around her. The journey suddenly seemed a lot more perilous as wild Manectric started to chase her down, especially seeing as a number of her party are weak to electric attacks! But this didn’t stop her from braving the grass and find the wild Toxel who she was soon naming Tiffany.


An excellent throw by Lockie.

At last Lockie reached her destination, and is able to relax … until she sees exactly how powerful the trainers and their Pokémon are in this area! Safe from the wild and cautious of the trainers, Lockie plans her next move – it looks like another rigorous training session for the team!


Lockie finally makes it through the Wild Area to Hammerlocke

PART 9 – TO STOW-ON-SIDE


Posted in Gaming Journals

A Hobbit’s Brain Training – Week 1

Week 1 of my Brain Training with Dr. Kawashima, and what an interesting week it has been!

A rather shameful start with the abysmal brain age of 72, I think my results have really improved as the week has gone by. The tests that determine my brain age each day are randomised, some I am quite good at, but there are some where I definitely need to improve!

Here are my brain age test stats for each day of the past week:



The most shocking thing to me is that my short-term memory seems to be the best thing on show here, when I have always considered my memory to be famously bad. Some of the exercises I find very tricky, but I manage to get through them at an apparently impressive rate.

I have found my processing speed to be the most disappointing. Previously I thought this would be something I am better at, but evidently not. My best age in this category so far has been 43! Well, I guess there wouldn’t be much point to brain training if there were no improvements to be made.

With any luck, the next week of results will show off something slightly less underwhelming!

Posted in Gaming Journals

A Hobbit’s Brain Training

Guess who bought Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch! Me, of course, why else would I be talking about it?

I thought it might be fun to document my progress each week, and hopefully we might see a positive trend in the results.

So as this is my introductory post, I’d better announce my first brain age result!


My initial brain age, 72.

As Dr. Kawashima told me … that’s a little underwhelming! I have to admit, there were a few teething problems on the first day. Some of the exercises involve you writing numbers or letters on the screen with the provided stylus. The software was … struggling somewhat, to understand some of the things I entered – in particular, 8s. I did later figure out what the issue was – the most abstract of issues you could possibly imagine. Turns out, I start writing my 8s from the bottom, and apparently the norm is to start from the top? Once I figured out that little gem, it shaved off several seconds on my future training sessions.

So, fingers crossed and wish me luck – let’s see if I can improve!

Posted in Gaming Journals

Pokémon Shield – Nuzlocke Challenge


PART 7 – Kabu

The next leg of Lockie’s journey sees her in Motostoke, ready to take on Gym Leader Kabu … well, almost ready! It seems as though Lockie’s team needs more training before taking on this challenge. The loss of three party members is still fresh, and so we will have to put a bit more work into leveling to catch up with the Pokemon around us.

Whilst undergoing training, we had a few evolutions in the team! First was Esther, who has evolved into a rather formidable Meowstic. With particularly high Speed and Special Attack, she just might be our first real sweeper. Next was Cedric who evolved into Drednaw. This gives him the Rock type as well as Water, which means he will be particularly vulnerable to Grass types! The third and final evolution of the training session (and possibly the most exciting) was Madeleine! We now have an almighty Gyarados on our team, and with that Lockie’s team suddenly feels much more viable.


Madeleine the mighty Gyarados

Kabu’s Gym Challenge is an interesting one, as it involves catching/defeating wild Pokemon alongside other challenges to earn points. And as the stadium itself counts as a new area, this means an opportunity to get a new addition to the team, so say hello to Lockie’s new Litwick, Layla!


Layla the Litwick

The rest of the gym challenge was easy enough – defeating the wild fire types before the other contestants was no trouble at all with Lockie’s watery competitors.



And now onto Kabu himself! He is usually quite a tough one to beat, but with a double act of Madeleine and Cedric, his Fire types really didn’t stand a chance against the watery strength of Lockie’s team! It wasn’t long before this gym was conquered. Even the gigantamax Centiskorch went down in just one hit from Cedric the Drednaw.



The next destination for Lockie will be Hammerlocke, which means traversing a new section of the Wild Area, and new areas for Pokemon to be caught. It’s time to really think about who needs training up for the battles ahead, so some of our old friends will have to come out of the box once again.


Part 8 – en route to hammerlocke

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A Hobbit’s Update

All my devices are telling me that it’s now June (well, June 5th), and I can’t help but feel like they’ve all got together to play some prank on me. Is it seriously halfway through the year already? Well I’ve been thinking about a lot of things that I want to write about, but I thought that maybe before I do any of that, I could write up a general update.

Life continues to be as strange and surreal as ever. I do my best to keep up with the news each day just the right amount – enough to be informed, not so much that I get dragged down with the sorry state of affairs. I think in the current climate, it would be all too easy to be dragged down – and my policy is that positivity is always best! It is my genuine hope that you are all keeping safe and looking out for others, and hopefully others are looking out for you too.


Gaming

So what have I been up to in the games department? Well the main feature has to be Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I have already put so much time into this playthrough, and I believe I am nearing the end. My previous save didn’t even reach halfway through the game before I got distracted by other things, and it eventually got buried. So it was a real joy to start afresh, catch up with the story that I had completely forgotten, and once I passed the point that I had reached previously, it became so clear to me how much of a mistake it was to have got distracted before. I already knew that Odyssey was a great game, but I didn’t put enough time in to see that it is a fantastic game. I am absolutely gripped by the story, I’ve been shocked by the things that have happened, and can’t wait to see how it will conclude!

I have also purchased the DLC Season Pass as the PS Store had it on sale, so no doubt once I have finished the main story, I will have a look into that.

But I have also been playing other games here and there. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a regular part of my daily ritual. I feel like I’ve gotten to a part where playing has become a gentle unwind. I have villagers that I like, so no need to try and get anyone replaced. I have pretty much finished decorating my island to exactly how I want it. All I’m missing is a few hybrid flowers, and that will come with time. I have completed the museum’s fossil collection, as well as having donated all the available bugs so far. The only thing I’m a bit short on is fish. June brought us plenty more species to catch, but on the plus side I have already caught all the shark species that were introduced this month. My house is fully upgraded and the mortgage is almost totally paid off. Once it is, I guess I’ll just have to spend all my bells on clothes … actually, I do that anyway. My main goal at this point is to befriend my lovely villagers and get their precious pictures. I talk to them every day, give them gifts, do their favours, and also my friends who have the game as well come over and I go to their islands too.

There has been the other odd game here and there that I’ve been occupying my time with. Prison Architect, Long Live The Queen, and Graveyard Keeper are all games that I have been playing here and there for a bit at a time.

Prison Architect is an old favourite that I just got the urge to go back to, but the other two are fairly new entries to my Steam library. Long Live The Queen is … an interesting one. It’s a sort of fantasy political simulator I suppose you could say, The premise is that you are a princess, and the Queen has died. As a 14 year old, you are too young for a coronation and will have to wait for your 15th birthday. So you have to survive until then. And trust me, that is not easy. As for Graveyard Keeper, think Stardew Valley, but instead of a farm, you have a graveyard. And it’s a lot kookier. And darker. I’ve only put 4 hours into it so far, and I wouldn’t say that’s enough for me to have a solid opinion yet. Seems good though, so I look forward to diving deeper into that.

I’m also looking ahead to what games I will tackle once my largest time-sink (AC: Odyssey) is out of the way. The most likely option is Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which I bought for a very decent price in the PS Store sale, and if it is anything like Odyssey at all, then that will be a real treat. Plus I find Egypt and their Gods and mythology incredibly interesting, so that will be a real treat. I also need to return to Luigi’s Mansion 3 – I have put so much time into Animal Crossing that none of my other Switch games have been getting much of a look in.


Blogging

I’ve also been thinking about the content I want to get started on, and I have had various things in the back of my mind. I have plenty of drafts to start working on, all at differing stages of completion. I’ve got plenty of my favourite games that I want to offer my thoughts on, but also some series as well. My Nuzlocke challenge on Pokémon Shield is patiently waiting for me to return to it, and I actually started a Stardew Valley journal series – only I haven’t posted anything for that because I had PS4 troubles shortly after I got the first two posts finished. Lastly, I’ve been quietly brainstorming what other kinds of posts and series I could put together. I have really enjoyed writing the latest posts that I have produced, which have been quite different to my usual review format. It’s been very satisfying to scratch that creative itch by thinking of different writing angles. But then I guess I have been in a more creative mood than usual – writing, gaming, reading, sketching … you could say that my imagination has gone into overdrive somewhat!

So we’ll have to see what I come up with, but I definitely intend to return to the Nuzlocke series sooner rather than later. It’s about time Lockie ended her break and jumped back in to her high-stakes Pokémon career!

Posted in Recent Games

Prison Architect

Regular readers won’t be shocked to see another simulation game making it’s way to this site. Prison Architect has a habit of dragging me back to it by simple association … whenever I watch something on TV based around a prison (Orange Is The New Black, for example) I suddenly get the strongest urge to hop back in and start making my own prison!

There’s just something about designing layouts, considering the efficiency ad functionality of the various sections as you build them. Perhaps I missed my true calling?

When I first bought this game, it was quite simple and bare-bones. Over time, continuous updates have built upon the excellent foundation that the original base game provided. The premise of Prison Architect as you can probably guess is to build and manage your own prison from scratch. There are the usual challenges that you might expect, such as balancing a budget, having the right amount of staffing, that sort of thing. But being a prison game, there are lots of extra things for you to consider.

Your prisoners will have to be looked after, and also watched closely – a prison riot is but one unfortunate incident away! Will you decide to be a cruel warden? Or will you create educational programs and work opportunities? Will you let the prisoners do their thing or will you crack down and confiscate all contriband?

The game is so well looked after by the creators, it is crazy to think of just how many differences there are between the original release and the game as it is today. Besides the many new rooms, items, and mechanics, my favourite of the new additions has to be escape mode. A mode which adds an entirely new layer of challenge and enjoyment to an already enjoyable game.

Escape Mode allows you to jump into the prison as a fresh-faced convict, straight off the bus. As a prisoner, your job is ultimately to escape. Of course, such a feat doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time, patience and planning. There are a number of different ways for you to consider. Maybe you prefer to stealthily gather the items you need and hide them in safe places where you can collect them later to make your grand escape. Or perhaps you’ll form a gang and overthrow the prison, destroying everything in your path, burning the prison down as you walk out towards your freedom.

It gets even better – you can access the Steam workshop to load up prisons made by other players and try to escape from them. I can tell you, there are some REAL challenges to be found on there! I’m not entirely sure if it is possible to load the prisons of other players on the console version, but I certainly hope it is available, because it really does raise the bar just that extra little bit.

Overall, it just feels like Prison Architect has an extra layer of challenge compared to most other simulation games, seeing as it literally could all go wrong in an instant. You will have to keep your wits about you and ensure that you have a good regime in place otherwise you will find yourself subjected to prison riots, arson, assaults, escape attempts, and even murder. They are criminals after all!

It’s a huge thumbs up from me, it really is one of the best simulation games out there. The minimalist style is charming, the hidden humour is satisfying, and the gameplay is just excellent.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release Date: 06/10/2015 (PC), 28/06/2016 (PS4, Xbox One), 20/08/2018 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Genre: Simulation