Pokemon Shuffle

Developer: Genius Sonority
Nintendo & The Pokémon Company
Tsukasa Tawada
Nintendo 3DS, Android & iOS
18th of February 2015
Single Player Puzzle Game

Pokémon Shuffle is a puzzle game similar in its mechanics to Candy Crush or Bejewelled. Players must battle against different types of Pokémon. During each fight you may bring up to four support Pokémon with you. Here comes the match thing with other thing mechanic, you must match three or more of the same Pokémon to each other, either in horizontal or verticals lines when that happens damage is dealt to the Pokémon you are battling. The higher number of Pokémon you can match in a single move the more damage you deal and the faster you knock out the wild Pokémon. It also helps if you can have support Pokémon that are super effective against the Pokémon you are battling. For example, bring water types to battle a fire type will deal more damage. You progress through each stage by defeating Pokémon and capturing them. You have a higher percentage of capture at the end of each round based on how many moves you have left. There is a limited number of moves you can make for each battle. So, if you have 10 moves and you KO’d in 2. Those left over 8 moves will be added to your likelihood of Pokémon capture. And that Pokémon can be added to your collection and brought with you to other battles. After all that you get in-game coins and Pokémon gain EXP.

All the Pokémon in Pokémon Shuffle are from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos and Alola regions. Meaning that there is also Mega Evolutions and Mega Stones that you can acquire from battling trainers as well. Players can unlock expert levels as well. Which will limit you not only by move count but also by time. The Pokémon up for grabs in the expert levels are more rare and definitely more sought after. Pokémon Shuffle operates on a free-to-play system which basically means that everything is free up front but if you want addition features you must pay. In relation to Pokémon Shuffle, you are required to have hearts to attempt a stage. Now you only start with 5 and you must wait a certain amount of time for one heart to recover and so on. You can purchase more hearts and you can also purchase power-ups, such as extra moves. Mostly however if you didn’t want to pay you don’t need to you, you get login bonuses and daily challenges as well as special limited-time stages to try out.

Pokémon Shuffle is very cutesy in its art style making my think of Animal Crossing there is also a childlike nature to it making it very safe and appealing to young kids. I do find the game to be very repetitive at times and other times I find it really addictive making me want to reattempt a battle to capture a Pokémon. The further you get into Pokémon Shuffle the more patience you need to not spend money. So, if you are someone with the tendency to spend on mobile games, I’d be careful with this one.

The soundtrack is simply delightful each stage you progress through provides a new sound for each stage theme. It’s almost as if each stage has music to mimic certain Pokémon types which is really cool. There are also many traditional Japanese instruments throughout with classical Japanese drums and rhythm. There is also sweet melodic guitars and ukuleles to enjoy. Tsukasa Tawada has done a fantastic job of making gaming music that does what it should, set the scene and not irritate you when it loops.

I have to say even though Pokémon Shuffle doesn’t have the greatest online ratings and despite it being a pretty old game now, I don’t think it’s aged badly. I love Pokémon and almost any game that somehow incorporates that universe will suck me in. It’s definitely a great game for the train or to fidget with. I love the daily login in systems because it keeps me going in to attempt some more stages and if you want to spend money sure and if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I’ve had a great time with Pokémon Shuffle because I got the itch for having to Catch Em’ All.

Streaming Games, D&D, and Woman Gamers on the Rise

Netflix Making Moves into Games
In the early hours of Friday the 21st of May, The Information published an article claiming Netflix had approached “veteran game industry executives” over the past weeks looking to hire someone to “oversee an expansion into videogames.” Within 3 hours Netflix had informed several outlets that they were seeking to expand on the success of games like those based on Stranger Things and the interactive stories of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and according to GamesRadar Netflix is looking towards a subscription based service akin to Apple Arcade. This confirms what Netflix’s COO and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters announced in April;

 “There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience…”

Switch Not Getting GamePass
In documents released in the Epic v Apple legal battle a discussion has been unearthed between Microsoft and Nintendo around the topic of bringing xCloud – the Game Pass streaming service – to the Switch. While the documents were heavily redacted it implies, according to gamesindustry.biz, that Microsoft was willing to compensate Nintendo to fulfill Microsoft’s Head of Gaming’s Phil Spencer’s ambition of “…bringing [sic] Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on.” from 2019. Sadly, at least for Spencer, according to the documents talks seem to have dissolved into corporate politeness with Nintendo declining Microsoft’s offer.

D&D Goes Bumper in 2020
In a bumper year for tabletop gaming Wizards of the Coast has boasted that 2020 was their best year ever and 7th consecutive year of growth. With more interest than ever in Dungeons and Dragons, and increased sales even after releasing free content for the “Stay at Home Play at Home” initiative the company has announced crossover content and more in the future. Demographics released show a fairly even split in age, and a 60:40 split between the sexes showing that while this hobby is perceived to be male dominated, the ratio is changing.

Research Released about Women’s Experience of Gaming
In response to an increase in women playing games, recent research by Lenovo and Reach3 Insights have revealed that while, on average, women play the same games as men, they receive a disproportionate amount of harassment based on their gender. Of the 900 women surveyed from China, America and Germany 70% faced judgement of their skills in game based on their gender, 65% experienced gatekeeping and 44% received unsolicited relationship asks while gaming. 59% of those surveyed also said they used non-gendered or male identifiers when playing online to avoid conflict. The research concludes with 71% of women agreeing that increasing the presence of women in gaming ads could foster more inclusive behaviours in gaming.

Upcoming Game Releases.
On May 27th, the psychedelic, genre-busting beat ’em up Kung Fu Jesus comes to PC. And the pixel art, Police Action RPG Pecaminosa come to PC, and Switch.
On May 28th, Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World comes to PS4, and Switch.
On June 1st, the co-operative espionage adventure game Operation: Tango is coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. And Stonefly, a Ferntree Gully take on a mech adventure is coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.
And the life sim, Hokko Life, is coming to PC on June 2nd.

Don’t Starve Together Review

Illustrated shield with Don't Starve Together Carved into it

Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Music: Vince de Vera and Jason Garner
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows
Released: 21 April 2016
Genre: Survival, Indie, Action-adventure, Multiplayer


Don’t Starve Together is the standalone multiplayer expansion of the wilderness survival game, Don’t Starve. It’s refreshing to see an expansion game that stands alone and doesn’t require you to purchase the original game in order to play it. In fact, Don’t Starve Together is the only Don’t Starve game that I’ve ever played.

When it comes to story, Don’t Starve Together is bursting with narrative threads and character arcs. Don’t Starve Together is a continuation of the storyline from the original Don’t Starve. But don’t worry if you haven’t played the first game because the story is not immediately consequential to your experience as a player and anything you need to know can be found on the wiki pages or on the plethora of YouTube videos out there.

Game Play

I’m sure if you’ve been paying attention to any of my previous reviews, you’d remember that I am notoriously bad at survival games. And I mean, die in the first two minutes bad. That’s because most survival games don’t take the time to walk you through all of the different mechanics and expect you to actually survive. Unfortunately, I can’t remember if there was a tutorial for Don’t Starve Together because I don’t think I got one.

A screenshot of the game don't starve together

The first time I played this game was way back in 2016 when it was initially released, and I was playing with a friend. It did not go well and I did not enjoy my time. I’d attribute most of this to the fact that I’m bad at survival games and the person I was playing with had also never played before. There weren’t nearly as many resources for the game as there are now. Despite all of that though, the game is pretty forgiving. I’ve managed to survive an entire season.

Unlike its prequel Don’t Starve, Don’t Starve Together lets you play with others. Which is the best part of the game. You get a lot of control over how you make your worlds, how many friends you want to play with, and what mode you want to play in. You can play in Survival, Wilderness, and Endless mode. Each of those modes is fairly relaxed with Survival being the default mode of play. We played in Survival mode and it’s kind of difficult to find some resurrecting stuff, but mostly I’m a very cautious player and so I’m a bit too scared to explore far on my own. This means that playing in a cooperative manner gives me the best chance of enjoying the game.


Full disclosure, I love music, but I don’t hear a lot of it while playing and because I had to be able to communicate with my other players, I wasn’t really able to hear much of the music. Oh, the wonders of being a Deaf gamer. But what I did hear, I really enjoyed. Like almost every other game you will ever play, the music gives you some good cues as to the situation you’re in. Like when I attacked some creature and the music switched from the idle, perpetual motion to more intense ‘battle’ music I knew what was up. I also really appreciated that there were visual cues on-screen for when I was being attacked because I legitimately couldn’t hear those sorts of things.

Overall Experience

I love Don’t Starve Together. I think it’s the one survival game that I know I will come back to because it’s such a lovely way to have some fun with friends. The art style is gorgeous, the gameplay is forgiving, and there’s so much content that you won’t be exhausting the game any time soon. It’s a game that’s been in my game library for a long time, but one that I haven’t had too many people to play with. I would definitely recommend getting a few friends together that can afford to get the game or already have it and spend a day just playing and surviving together. There’s a lot to craft and learn. I haven’t even been able to dip into the recipes yet. I can’t wait to get to that part of the game, because I’ve really been enjoying the crafting aspect of the game.

We played on PC, but you can also play on PS4, Xbox One, Mac, and even Linux.

Unbanned Games, Rising Sales, and Discord Upgrades

Disco Elysium Gains R18+ Rating

Fans of the critically acclaimed RPG, Disco Elysium will now be able to purchase the game physically, and on consoles, within Australia. Disco Elysium had already been available through digital platforms, such as Steam, for two years previously, however the game had never been submitted for a formal classification rating.

Without a formal classification rating, games cannot be sold on consoles or physically within Australia, and with the game’s depiction of heavy drug usage, and the main character inflicting wounds on himself, going through the process of obtaining a classification rating has its challenges.

After a review however, the game’s ban was overturned, and it has now been given an R18+ classification, as although the dark themes and drug references have high impact, the Review Board found that Disco Elysium’s narrative disincentivises players from taking drugs throughout the overarching game.

Although it means only adults can buy the game on consoles within Australia, it does mean that the game can now actually be available on consoles.

20% of Nintendo Switch Sales Went to Households That Already Owned One

Households seem to like having more than one Nintendo Switch console! Looking at the last financial year, 20% of Nintendo Switch sales were for households that already owned one. That means about 5.8 million sales from the last year were for a secondary console. Potentially as a gift for children or a partner, or to have a dedicated system on the go, in the case of the Switch Lite.

With gaming increasing in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic, for entertainment, escapism, or as a form of socialising, it’s little wonder that console sales have reflected that.

Discord Becoming More Inclusive

Discord is going through a lot of changes at the moment to make the app more accessible, easier to use, and friendlier, not only for gamers, but also for all communities. With 78% of Discord users reporting using the app for non-game purposes, there are channels for just about every hobby and interest out there, such as gardening, movies, sewing, book clubs, cooking, and so much more

To assist in this, Stage Channels are getting visual upgrades, and a dedicated space to allow these communities to market themselves to interested users. This discovery space will allow people to browse communities, and join servers they’re interested in.

And now for some upcoming game releases!

May 19:

  • Days Gone (PC)
  • Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Expansion (PC)
  • Never Yield (PC, Switch)

May 20:

  • Grand Casino Tycoon (PC)
  • Just Die Already (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Lacuna (PC)
  • Mayhem in Single Valley (PC)
  • Of Bird and Cage (PC)
  • Puzzle Bobble VR: Vacation Odyssey (Oculus Quest)

May 21:

  • Knockout City (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Miitopia (Switch)
  • Rust (PS4, XBO)

May 25:

  • An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs (PC, XSX)
  • Biomutant (PC, PS4, XBO)
  • King of Seas (PC, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Maneater (Switch)
  • Very Very Valet (Switch)

Who wants to play Monopoly?

Sony Lawsuits & PlayStation 5 Shortages

A group of gamers is gearing up to file a lawsuit against Sony this week, arguing that the company runs an unlawful monopoly that limits where players are able to purchase digital copies of PlayStation games to only Sony online stores. This group has said that Sony’s monopoly on digital games means, “they are allowed to charge supercompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, that are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market.” This lawsuit is designed to hopefully encourage Sony to create a more consumer friendly environment by suggesting a more competitive retail market that doesn’t result in players paying up to 175 percent more for digital games.

Sony are also expecting massive PlayStation 5 shortages that is predicted to last into 2022. Sony have been having some supply issues that don’t have an end in sight. According to Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said, “If we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand.” Despite supply shortages Sony has sold more than 7.8 million units since November last year. Similar to Sony, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S are also struggling with supply constraints until after June 20th this year.

Filmmaker claims Capcom took Designs for Resident Evil Village

Filmmaker Richard Raaphorst who directed a horror film Frankenstein’s Army in 2013 has shared online a comparison of images from his movie and Resident Evil Village’s character designs. Many fans of the horror film continue to find similarities. Raaphorst said, “It’s a crazy monster movie filled with my own creature designs, one of which has been used – completely without authorization or credit in the newest Resident Evil game.” For now, there doesn’t appear to be any legal action from Raaphorst just that he wished they’d given him credit. If you’d like to take a look at the images (SPOLIER WARNING) click here.

E3 2021 is coming up fast

Starting on June 12th and running for three days until the 15th E3 Expo is only a month away. Coronavirus has had a massive impact of industry events however hopeful we are that they will return soon we still have a way to go and because of this, E3 2021 will be embracing all the virtual technology it can to bring us closer to the exhibitors this year. There are some big game announcements to come that are currently kept secret as well as more sneak peaks into big releases such as Halo: Infinite, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Starfield, Final Fantasy 16, a potentially new Sonic game, not to mention the anticipation for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. If you’d like to get updates on what’s happening as well as where everything is to be streamed head over to www.e3expo.com to sign up, it’s totally free.

Game Releases this week:

May 13th: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids comes out on all platforms
May 14th: Famicom Detective Club (Nintendo Switch), Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, PS4, XBO), Quantum Replica (PS4, XBO, Switch), Subnautica (Switch), Subnautica: Below Zero (PS4 & 5, XSX, XBO, Switch).
May 18th: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice (PS4, XBO, Switch)

Shelter 3 Review

Developer: Might and Delight
Publisher: Might and Delight
Music: Retro Family
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Released: 30th March 2021
Genre: Adventure, Indie

You are Reva, an elephant with a new calf, and your matriarch, the leader of your herd, needs your help. She is old, her eyesight is failing, members of your herd have been lost. And now, with a young calf and a small herd, you now must use her memories to reunite with the rest of the herd safely. The decisions you make will dictate your journey, your patience and bond with your herd will keep you safe. But it’s not easy, a slip in judgement, rushing at the wrong moment, or neglecting the needs of your herd will make your journey challenging.

Shelter 3 is a 3D adventure game, with a gorgeous artstyle that reminds me of a patchwork quilt, branching paths, and a beautiful insight into the life of an elephant, and the responsibilities she may have.

Shelter 3 takes a different approach to previous Shelter games, where instead of focusing on a single member of your family, instead you must guide and look after your herd, with the memories of the old matriarch to help your decisions. You have the ability to sprint, knocking fruit out of trees, sensing the environment around you, calling your herd into a protective formation, and to feed your calf. But you also have the ability to pluck flowers to carry with your trunk, play in the water, sharing joy with your herd. All these maintain the health of your herd, and their happiness.

The old matriarch will guide you to landmarks, and once you read that landmark she invites you to listen to her stories and her memories, deciding on the next landmark on your journey. You have a couple of options, with differing dangers and challenges. Fog, crocodiles, a maze of stones, dangerous ravines, swamps that threaten to drag you down. You’ll have to navigate them all.

And if you make the wrong decision, rushing through a river at the wrong moment, putting your herd in harm’s way? Well… I lost my calf that way, the hearts of the herd breaking. But I couldn’t just stop, I couldn’t just restart. My calf was not my entire herd, and so I had to continue, thinking of what I should’ve done.

This is not an action-packed game however. It is very slow-paced, linear, but I suppose that makes sense for a game about elephants retracing the paths of the past. There were minor interactions with the environment and my herd, but I really wish there was more I could do. Perhaps give them the flower I had plucked, or spray them with water. It felt very much like the journey was just about me, and not my herd.

I greatly enjoyed the music, the layered instruments, chords, and melodies replicating the quilt-like effect of the world in audio form. The music warned me of dangers, letting me know when it was time to be on alert. It immersed me in storms, beautiful rich plains, the paths I explored, the moments of joy my herd expressed.

Shelter 3 is a beautiful game, I cannot deny that. Visually unique and gorgeous, with layered textures that reminds me of a quilt. And the story starts out nice and simple, with wanting to reunite with the rest of the herd. Having lost members of the herd along the way, I felt resolved to see it through, to bring the herd to safety and security, the old matriarch telling me about how beautiful it would be.

And when we finally made it, the joy I felt seeing her old body rush forward with excitement was also met with sorrow as the realisation hit. She was reunited, and so happy, and it was beautiful. But it was also a story of loss, and life after death. The understanding that death comes for us all in the end, and sometimes it comes swiftly, with only snapping teeth as warning, or it comes quietly and peacefully, like coming home.