Monthly Archives: February 2020

Best Pokemon Games for a Flying Type Run

Would you be surprised if I told you that the Flying Type in Pokemon is among the best types ever to do a Monotype Run??  In fact, it’s so good, I’d rate it as the third best behind Water and Normal Type.  Why is that?  Well, you can find a plethora of Flying Pokemon throughout the games, with very few exceptions you can catch your first Flying Type before the first gym (and even as a Starter!), and it’s surprisingly easy to cover their weaknesses.  The diversity Flying Pokemon have is absolutely amazing and they were the first of the 18 types to be paired with every other type.  You will have a fun time with this often overlooked team of Pokemon.  Let’s take a look at the best and worst games in the series for a Flying Type Run and which Pokemon you should be looking out for!

Rules

  1. Only Pokémon of a certain type may be caught and trained.
  2. You must catch the first Pokémon available of that type if your starter does not match that type (you’ll then have to discard that starter).
  3. You may train a Pokémon that evolves to said type as long as you do it ASAP.
  4. No trading allowed.
  5. Mega Pokémon count as long as you Mega Evolve them as soon as they appear on the battlefield.
  6. Only Pokémon caught before Elite Four are counted.

Monotype Chart 2.02Best Games

Okay, so here’s the thing.  There’s quite a few Pokemon games that I would recommend for a Flying Type Run, in fact if you go to my game-specific articles, you will frequently find Flying as among the best types in each game.  So writing about every single game that does well would be time consuming and frankly bloated so let’s keep it short.

Old school games hold up well here but I really like the Kanto and Johto games as their Flying diversity is almost unparalleled and you can train the likes of the Legendary Birds, Charizard, and Aerodactyl in Kanto and Xatu, Skarmory/Gligar, Crobat, and Ho-oh/Lugia in Johto.  In both games you can also train Gyarados, Dragonite, a host of Normal/Flying Pokemon, and many bugs as well.  The Johto remakes, HGSS, also get a boost with the likes of Yanmega, Honchkrow, and Gliscor (all of which I love, love, love, love!).

If I had to pick one series of games that are the best it would be Pokemon XY.  No other games in the entire series comes close to matching the diversity of Flying Pokemon here as you can train over 30 unique families!!  This diversity means you can constantly switch in and out certain Pokemon and pick a whole host of favorites without feeling too constrained by type weaknesses.  The fact you can get a Charizard, Aerodactyl, Yanmega, Gliscor, and Salamence really sells it for me.

Worst Games

Pokemon Black/White are the worst games for a Flying Type Run.  What’s funny is that this team is not necessarily bad just not as good as other games.  The biggest drawback is that “late” first Pokemon which you can only get after the first gym (Black/White are the only games in the entire series to do this).  This is also the game with the lowest amount of Pokemon you can train and you’re exposed to your weaknesses.  Still though, you can get a full team of unique flyers and you can train the likes of Sigilyph, Archeops, and Emolga.  Ironically, Black and White are also the only games in the series where you can catch either a Tornadus (Black) or Thundurus (White) before the Championship and they’re really good Flying Pokemon.  B2W2 are so much better so you should go for those.  You can train a Gliscor, Skarmory, Vespiquen, and many others!

 

 

Pokemon Games and their Flying Teams

Pokemon RBY and FRLG
Ideal Team: Charizard, Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Gyarados, Zapdos, Articuno
Optional: Pidgeot, Fearow, Dodrio, Scyther (Red, FireRed, Yellow), Moltres
First Pokémon: Charmander via starter or Pidgey (Yellow) via Route 1.
Covers Weaknesses? No, Rock is not covered.

 

Pokemon GSC and HGSS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Dragonite, Gligar/Gliscor (G, C, HG)/Skarmory (S, C, SS), Murkrow/Honchkrow, Jumpluff/Togekiss (HGSS), Xatu
Optional: Dodrio, Pidgeot, Spearow, Mantine (G, C, HG), Crobat, Yanma/Yanmega, Scyther, Ledian, Butterfree (G, C, HG), Farfetch’d, Ho-Oh (G, HG), Lugia (S, SS)
First Pokémon: Pidgey and Hoothoot via Route 29 before the first gym.
Via Pokewalker Pidgey (Refreshing Field at 0+ steps), Doduo (Refreshing Field at 2000+ steps), Spearow (Noisy Forest at 0+ steps), Hoothoot (Rugged Field at 0+ steps and Suburban Area at 0+ steps), Murkrow (Suburban Area at 1000+ steps), Zubat (Dim Cave at 0+ steps), and Dratini (Blue Lake at 5000+ steps) are available.
Covers Weaknesses? Yes, regardless of your version

 

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and ORAS
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Salamence, Swellow, Ninjask, Skarmory, Xatu
Optional: Beautifly, Masquerain (R, S, ORAS), Pelipper, Crobat, Altaria, Tropius, Honchkrow (ORAS), Drifblim (ORAS), Togekiss (ORAS), Mega-Pinsir (ORAS), Mandibuzz (ORAS), Chatot (ORAS), Unfezant (ORAS), Pidgeot (ORAS), Braviary (ORAS), Rayquaza (Emerald)
First Pokémon: Wurmple via Route 101
Covers Weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
Ideal Team: Gyarados, Vespiquen/Yanmega (Platinum), Drifblim, Honchkrow (Diamond), Gliscor (Platinum), Tropius (Platinum)
Optional: Staraptor/Noctowl/Chatot/Togekiss (Platinum), Pelipper/Mantine
First Pokémon: Starly via Route 201
Covers Weaknesses? Only in Platinum, in Diamond and Pearl the Electric and Rock types are not neutralized.

 

Pokemon Black/White and Black2/White2
BW Ideal Team: Tornadus (B)/Thundurus (W), Sigilyph, Archeops, Emolga, Swanna, Braviary (W)/Mandibuzz (B)
Optional: Swoobat, Unfezant
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 3 after the first gym
Cover weaknesses? No, Rock is not neutralized.

B2W2 Ideal Team: Skarmory, Gliscor, Emolga, Altaria, Swanna, Sigilyph
Optional: Swoobat, Crobat, Unfezant, Drifblim, Mantine, Pelipper, Mandibuzz (B2)/Braviary (W2), Delibird, Vespiquen
First Pokémon: Pidove via Route 20 before the first gym
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon XY
Ideal Team: Talonflame/Charizard, Gyarados, Gliscor, Salamence/Dragonite, Aerodactyl, Honchkrow
Optional: Ninjask, Mothim, Butterfree, Swanna, Pelipper, Swellow, Vivillon, Jumpluff, Swoobat, Crobat, Drifblim, Emolga, Hawlucha, Sigilyph, Staraptor, Mantine, Fan Rotom, Skarmory, Noivern, Pidgeot, Altaria, Scyther, Yanmega, Delibird
First Pokémon: Pidgey, Scatterbug, and Fletchling via Route 2
Weaknesses Covered? Yes, and in more ways than one.  You can have several different team matchups and still have your bases covered.

 

Pokemon Sun/Moon and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
SM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Drifblim, Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (Sun)/Mandibuzz (Moon), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Fearow, Staraptor (scan), Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

USUM Ideal Team: Toucannon, Gyarados, Charizard (scan), Aerodactyl, Salamence, Skarmory
Optional: Braviary (US)/Mandibuzz (UM), Crobat, Talonflame, Masquerain, Honchkrow, Minior, Xatu, Tropius, Hawlucha, Noivern, Pidgeot, Fearow, Noctowl, Drifblim, Oricorio (4 forms), Dartrix
First Pokémon: Rowlett via Starter
Cover weaknesses? Yes

 

Pokemon Sword and Shield
Ideal Team: Corviknight, Noivern, Sigilyph, Togekiss, Gyarados, Hawlucha
Optional: Swoobat, Braviary (Sword), Mandibuzz (Shield), Xatu, Noctowl, Unfezant, Butterfree, Pelipper, Delibird, Ninjask, Vespiquen, Drifblim, Fan Rotom, Cramorant, Mantine
First Pokémon: Rookidee by overworld (30%) and Hoothoot and Caterpie by random encounters (5% and 15%) via Route 1.
Weaknesses Covered? Yes

 

MVPs (Most Valuable Pokemon)

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The Early Bird

In every single Pokemon game, excluding Pokemon Black and White, you can catch a Flying Pokemon on the first route.  These birds are the primary reason why the Flying type is amazing for a Monotype Run.  They evolve into a strong final form who can pack quite a punch!  Most of them can learn Dark, Bug, Fighting, and Steel moves which is nice.  Really the biggest thing that’s holding (most of) them back is their Normal typing which doesn’t offer much for diversity and defense.

One thing I’m beginning to notice about these birds is that Gamefreak is making them more and more unique in later generations.  Up until Generation 5 they were pretty similar but in Gen 6 we got Talonflame with its nice Fire/Flying combo, Toucannon has a super high Attack stat which goes well with Beak Blast, and now Corviknight offers an amazing defense with its Steel/Flying.  They really make those later generations that much better for a Flying run.

Available in: Every game’s first route except BW who only appear after the first gym.

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Gyarados (and other Water/Flying Pokemon)

There since Generation 1, Water/Flying Pokemon are rather ubiquitous in their occurrences.  Six out of the so far eight generations have introduced at least one new Water/Flying Pokemon and every game contains at least one catchable family.  The Water typing gives your team access to moves you may otherwise lack mainly Water and Ice attacks.  You also get a nifty neutralization from Ice moves and a STAB attack against Rock Pokemon with the trade off being that 4x weakness to Electric (which honestly, as far as problems go, this one is at least manageable).  Although Swanna and the others are fine the best one by far is also the most common and of course I’m talking about Gyarados.

I cannot stress how important it is to have Gyarados on your team, especially starting Gen 4 onwards.  The physical/special split really benefited Gyarados’ high Attack stats so it can use Waterfall incredibly well.  Although Gyarados’ Flying movepool is pretty poor, that’s okay as you have at least five other team members who can more than make up for this.  You can teach Gyarados anything from Outrage to Iron Head, Ice Fang to Crunch, and most delicious of them all, Dragon Dance.  I would say your biggest problem is its Magikarp stage but given that it evolves at level 20 it’s honestly not even that big of a deal considering you would be at your second or third gym by then.

Available in: Every game.  Gyarados can be found in every game except Black/White and B2W2.

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Gliscor/Gligar

So once you get your Gyarados the next question you should ask is, can I get a Gligar or Gliscor?  Gliscor pairs amazingly well with your Water Pokemon thanks to its immunity to Electric moves (which is really nice) and Rock neutralization.  Not only that, a STAB Earthquake attack is sooooo gooooooood and can really stick it to any Electric or Rock Pokemon that trouble you.  Gliscor also knows a variety of elemental fang attacks, Rock Slide (nice), Poison Jab (Poison is surprisingly rare for Flyers), and some very strong Dark and Bug moves.

Like Gyarados, Gliscor suffers from an okay selection of Flying moves and a 4x weakness, this time to Ice attacks (this is not too bad as Gliscor will already be avoiding Water Pokemon anyway).  Gliscor is also not that common so pay attention to that when you pick your games.  And finally, Gliscor did not become available until gen 4 so if you’re playing Gen 2 then you’re stuck with Gligar.  Thankfully, don’t fret about your Electric or Rock weaknesses as there are other Pokemon to help you out like…

Available in: Gold, Crystal, Platinum, HeartGold, B2W2, and XY

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Dragon/Flying Pokemon

Neutralizing your Electric problems (with a 4x weakness to Ice moves) are the Dragons who are amazing additions to your team.  The four Pokemon are really common and it would be hard to miss one for your team.  Salamence and Dragonite are the strongest, non-Legendary, non-Mega Flying Pokemon.  They can deliver powerful attacks both physical and special, they are fast, and they can take the hits.  You also have the plethora of moves they can learn which adds a lot of necessary diversity to your team.  They both can learn Earthquake to take care of your Electric foes.  They are frankly wonderful.  Your biggest downsides for these two are their late game appearances compounded by late evolutions which means you’ll have to be very patient if you want one on your team.

On the flip side you have Noivern and Altaria, who trade their lower stats for easier training and commonality.  Altaria…it’s alright…nothing too special, but it does learn Moonblast, one of the few Flying Pokemon that can learn a strong Flying move.  Noivern is definitely where its at though both with speed and design.  Its decent Special Attack stat means you can use some great moves like Boomburst, Flamethrower, Psychic, and Shadow Ball.  I also like how you can catch Noibat relatively early in Pokemon SWSH.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Dragonite), GSC and HGSS (Dragonite), RSE and ORAS (Salamence and Altaria), B2W2 (Altaria), XY (all four), SM (Salamence), USUM (Salamence and Noivern), SWSH (Noivern)

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Skarmory and Corviknight

Taking care of your Rock and Ice weaknesses (pairs nicely with your dragons…) are Skarmory and Corviknight.  Steel/Flying is one of those type combos that works so extremely well.  The Flying type is immune to Ground and neutralizes the Fighting weakness and the Steel neutralizes Ice and Rock attacks.  Of the two, you’re more likely to run into Skarmory, who’s surprisingly common, compared to the very recent Corviknight.  Your main advantage in carrying these guys is defense so if you have a tricky opponent you can throw them out to stall or to dish out status-based moves.  Admittedly, their movepool selection is rather small but they can still learn the standard Steel moves which is nice to have against Rock and, especially, Ice Pokemon.

Available in: Skarmory in Silver, Crystal, RSE, SoulSilver, B2W2, ORAS, XY, SM, USUM.  Corviknight in SWSH

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Charizard

I don’t think you’ll need me to convince you to train a Charizard!  It’s Charizard!  Who wouldn’t want to train one??

But it goes deeper than just pure joy of having one on your team.  First, Charizard, of course, is a starter.  You pick Charmander in RBY or FRLG and you’re good to go!  You can also catch one just before Mount Moon in Let’s Go and get one from a trainer after Mount Moon in Yellow.  So Charmander can be found relatively early if not the start of your game.  But! It can also be found outside of Kanto!  You can train one in both XY (with the bonus Mega Evolutions) and in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon via Island Scan.  That’s nice.  But you know what’s also nice???  That movepool diversity is delicious.  Fire moves are stellar and all but you also have Dragon Pulse, Rock Slide, Earthquake, Thunder Punch, Shadow Claw, and Brick Break.  Excellent.  Biggest thing to worry about are Rock moves which are killer.  The Ice resistance is appreciated but a Pokemon that can learn an Ice move may be a Water type so that’s a bit rough.  Regardless, Gamefreak’s affection towards their favorite starter means you’ll have a nice time with your fiery buddy.

Available in: RBY and FRLG (Starter), LG and Yellow, XY, and USUM (Via Island Scan), SWSH (via max raid battle but they are extremely rare, you can check it out here)

 

A Review of the 2020 Oscar’s Best Animated Shorts

I was pleasantly surprised by 2020 Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short.  In previous years, you see a deluge of American (and sometimes Canadian or British) shorts.  This year, not only do we see a surprising mixture of shorts from different countries but we’re seeing vastly different art styles telling intense story lines along a sliding scale of comedy and drama.  In previous years, it was rather easy for me to decide which was my favorite but this is the first time that I had to seriously consider among not two but three of the nominees!  They were that good.  Let’s go through each of the nominees and end with “Hair Love,” which is my pick for best animated short of 2020.

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Daughter

From Czech Republic, “Daughter” focuses on the story between a woman and her dying father and their strained relationship.  Right off the bat, we are tuned into the short’s art style which is probably the most distinct out of the five.  The stop motion combined with the jolting camera is one of the most surreal experiences I have ever seen and really makes you feel close and personal with the characters despite their obviously non-human like appearance (as a side note, this short’s art style reminded me of the 2007 Animated Short Winner, “Peter and the Wolf” which was produced in Russia).

I admit that I was slow to grasp the story’s message, handling death and our mortality, due to unusual shots and jittery editing.  It wasn’t until afterwards, when Mary and I were discussing it, that we landed on that mortality theme.  Part of the story involved the girl finding a dead bird, showing the bird to her dad (who didn’t know how to console her), running to her room, and then changing into said bird.  The daughter reminisced this as she was in a hospital room with her dying dad when a bird flew into the hospital’s window and died upon impact.

All of this coincided with the daughter’s internal struggle about whether or not her dad loved her.  The lack of fatherly affection eventually drove her away from him and the last she saw of him (before his death) was through a train window.  Thankfully, she receives an uplifting clue of his love as she found her bird mask underneath his pillow.  A sign that he remembers her fondly even after she left him.

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Sister

Family themes were very strong in this year’s shorts as demonstrated in this odd but thought provoking piece, “Sister,” produced by both American and Chinese collaborators.  This stop motion piece (involving very fuzzy set pieces), tells the story of a man talking about his younger sister during childhood.  Only it turns out, he doesn’t have a sister, due to China’s One Child Policy.  This reveal dramatically shifts the piece from nostalgic remembering to wishful thinking.  Where his parents instead of getting an abortion had raised a second child.

What stood out to me about this story was the very weird child imaginations of games and memories.  The enlarging of the sister-baby was humorous but I was uncomfortable of the belly button…noodle?…and the baby suddenly changing to a balloon.  I DID like the tooth tree though!  That was pretty great.  Although the reveal that his sister’s existence was fabricated, I do feel like we could’ve stayed on them longer and allow us time to care and grow with the two siblings and make the impact stronger.  Still, I love that critical message against the One Child Policy, it’s a subject that unfortunately doesn’t get talked about a lot.

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Kitbull

This year’s token Pixar short, “Kitbull,” is so delightfully different from Pixar’s usual style that I was really struggling whether or not to pick it for my overall winner.  It’s true, I think that Pixar gets a lot of credit for being a great animation but sometimes I’m like, let’s give someone else a shot!

Anyway!  “Kitbull” is so delightfully cute that it pains me.  The kitten is probably the best animated kitten I have ever seen and it really just carries this film.  I love the way that it freaks out, that it flips on the dime between playful and scared, and all its adorable kitten noises.  The pit bull, the second of our deuteragonists, is kind and playful but is scarred by emotional and physical abuse but acts as a soft foil to our feisty kitty.  I think this is one of the best representations of pit bulls in media and that’s awesome.  This short is further propelled by its soft art, it’s clean animation, and its easy-to-follow story despite the lack of a narrator.

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Memorable

“Memorable” hails from France and is actually not the first time we’ve seen an Animated Short from France about memory loss (2016’s “The Head Vanishes,” was submitted but not nominated) but this short was so wonderful that I broke down crying by the end of the credits.  The art style and story are very in-tuned with each other, its impressionistic style reflects upon the main character’s artistic talent.  And as the artist’s mind is slowly fading away leaving him a shadow of his former self, the art style degrades making the world more and more abstract and empty (I love that he himself is becoming rougher and rougher around the edges to demonstrate his memory loss).

Despite the very heavy theme this story carries, it manages to find room for levity whether it’s the funky, Tim Burton-esque characters or, more importantly, the husband’s sense of humor which gives this character depth.  You can honestly imagine what this man was like before he lost his memory and why his wife fell in love with him in the first place.  This comes to a dramatic ending of sadness and humor as he dances with his wife and her colors slowly float away leaving a blank canvas that is now his mind.

Hair Love

“Hair Love,” produced in America, is my pick for Best Animated Short and I’m pleasantly surprised it won it despite the heavy competition.  Honestly, everything about it was just so tight and focused.  The animation style was appealing, I fell in love with the characters (and I want to hang out with the dad), and the pacing was really wonderful.  But overall that story was just really good.

I just love how everything flowed together and we didn’t need any narration to help us along the way.  The young girl wakes up to and excitedly checks her calendar to realize it’s a big day, today.  What that day is we don’t know until the end of the short when we realize her mom is being released from the hospital.  That’s a great pay off.  But what’s even better is that twist that her mom was the same woman who guided her on the internet hair style videos.  Yes!  So good!

And this I think makes the short that much better on a second watch!  The dad’s struggles aren’t just to appeal his daughter but to connect with her and, by second-hand, his wife.  I love that animation bit where he’s struggling to control her hair and it turns into a full on boxing match!  So great.  It’s nice that out of the heavy themes and rather depressing stories we were given this year, the one that won was uplifting, optimistic, full of heart and “Hair Love.”  Well done!

A side note about nominee reactions

Hey ShortsTV, I have a favor to ask.  It’s fine to show the creators reacting to their nominations but can we NOT show it during the end credits?  It can really detract from the watching experience, especially after watching something heavy like “Sister” or “Memorable.”  Thanks!

Tangle Tower Review and Overall Thoughts

Spoiler-Free Review Summary: Despite no previous experience with Detective Grimoire, I was able to almost instantly fall in love with Tangle Tower thanks to its kooky characters, twisting story-line, hassle-free gameplay, and soothing music.  Fans of either Professor Layton or Ace Attorney would enjoy this point-and-click adventure game as time and time again I felt very happy and satisfied when clues came together and solutions arise.  The game’s art style is incredibly appealing and unique and I love each characters’ many expressions and voice acting.  The game’s main shortcomings stems from its shortness as it can easily be finished in just a few sittings.  Because of which, the ending left a lot of questions unanswered and made me yearn for more (in both a positive and negative way).  Nevertheless, I eagerly look forward to more Detective Grimoire and Sally games by the small but impressive video game company SFB Games.

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Overall Thoughts and Opinions (Spoilers): 

In the span of a few months Mary and I have played together two point-and-click (PaC) adventure games on the Switch; Thimbleweed Park and now Tangle Tower.  Of the two, I honestly think Tangle Tower does a better job with its concept and execution and left us more satisfied and less frustrated.  First, and foremost, Tangle cuts down on the frustrating pixel-hunting features that can plague PaC games including Thimbleweed.  It helps that objects are nicely drawn and recognizable which is further aided by Grimoire and Sally wry comments on said-object even when it has no relevant to the plot point.  This translates nicely to the puzzles (second), which did not feel frustrating as Mary and I fiddled with the gears, contraptions, and levers.  If we wanted a certain part to go in a certain place the part would snap to it without unnecessary fidgeting.  Finally, Thimbleweed was too full of itself and left an ending that was ultimately unsatisfying unlike Tangle which, despite some head-scratching unanswered questions (more about that later), overall left me satiated.

Overall, Tangle Tower was a fun and amazing time for Mary and I!  We loved it and found the game’s laissez-faire approach to let us do our own thing very rewarding.  The clues and mysteries definitely reminded me of Professor Layton but handled better as we were the ones solving these crazy questions.  The game’s intuitive approach of letting us mix-and-match solutions with nouns and verbs was a very fun process and something that was actually helpful if we weren’t sure how to solve the question.   The lack of a penalty for incorrect guesses may make the game easy for some but to us it was still a rewarding experience.

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But God, those characters are just the real selling points.  I just love the way they’re designed from Fifi’s squashed body, mass-of-hair, and single eye, to Professor Pointer’s melting face, rooftop hair, and squirming fingers.  And they all are just so beautifully animated with those squiggle lines and various dramatic poses.  You can tell that SFB Games has really placed a lot of love into this game further boosted by the years of programming experience they accrued.  Even our main characters have a sense of style to them and I especially like the sarcastic Sally with her three-sphere hair design and cute, tiny jacket.

Each character also has their own leitmotif and there are quite a few exploring themes as seen on the game’s website.  This helps reduce the repetition and really hone in on a room’s personality which is quite nice.  My favorite songs are ones that involved the piano with their slow and thoughtful tunes; part of me wishes the whole soundtrack was like that so I can listen to it while studying.  As a side note, the music and animation honestly remind me of the Microsoft computer games I grew up playing like Math Blaster or Magic School Bus.

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So one of the things I like about Tangle Tower is that you can show each character either a clue or a character’s portrait and with only a few exceptions out of the many combinations, the characters will respond with unique dialogue AND I LOVE THAT.  I’m so used to earlier PaC games, even Professor Layton and alike, to give generic dialogue when an irrelevant item is shown to a person (“I don’t know what that is” or “I can’t help you with that”).  It helps that there’s only like nine characters but still, the amount of dialogue in this game is tremendous.  And I like how the characters responses either reflect their personality, or give insight to a clue or another character, or point you to another character who could better assist you (it honestly reminds me of the Full Motion Video detective game “Contradiction!” which you all should check out).  One of the best examples of this is Poppy’s old photograph and how everyone kept lying who the girl is even though they know full well it’s Poppy.

These clues and character dialogue really make it fun to piece together the evidence and draw conclusions.  Mary and I would frequently bounce ideas and inferences off each other and usually by the time we had a great idea, Grimoire and Sally weren’t far behind.  This created an almost frustration-free environment as some games, like Ace Attorney, I’m just impatiently waiting for the detective to catch up to me when I have already figured it out 20 minutes ago.

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Unfortunately, many of the interesting plot points or character mysteries go unsolved or fall by the wayside at the end of the game.  I imagine that some of them acted as red herrings, to distract us from the bigger picture, and if that was the creators’ intention then it certainly worked but it still doesn’t explain some of the more pressing issues or confusing head-scratchers I felt should have been solved.

This includes but not limited to

  • Why did the lake rise and was that related to the new towers?
  • What was the other 10% of the Golden Beetle’s shell made of?
  • When did Penelope switch the red ink with the blood when she had very limited time to escape the attic and change clothes?  Was it before Freya started painting?  Also, WHO’S BLOOD IS IT???
  • What happened to that Inkdip bird?

And then there’s the other confusing evidence and plot points that I felt could’ve been straightened out a bit nicer like

  • Didn’t Grimoire realize during the statements review that Felix CLEARLY said he heard two people going down the stairs???  I felt like that should’ve been addressed by him or Sally during their review.
  • How the hell did Penelope/Hawkshaw manage to change in and out of costume without raising any kind of suspicion?  I feel like that should have been noted by the family members.
  • Why did Penelope have to kill Freya exactly?  Even though Freya found out the family’s secret was it going to jeopardize anything?

I think many of these problems stem from the game’s rather rushed ending which seems to be the biggest complaint a lot of people have for this game.  I think Mary and I finished it in like 6 hours or so?  It wasn’t very long that’s for sure.  It was actually kind of funny because the first couple of chapters or so were pretty long and then all of a sudden they just kept coming bam, bam, bam, one after the other!  The introduction of the mystids, the ambassadors, and the secret rooms, were fine but I felt like we could’ve stayed on them much longer.  I wish I heard what the other characters thought about the ambassadors and the secret room.  I also wanted to explore all four of the mystids including the amphibious creatures.  If the game added an extra hour of gameplay I felt it could’ve wrapped it up a bit nicer and not as an exposition dump in the end.

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I agree with you Grimoire, this was another minor thing that bugged me too

At this point though I am nitpicking a very fun and smart game.  You know that feeling you get when you play something and realize it was something you didn’t need until the moment you had it?  That was me for Tangle Tower.  It felt both new and familiar at the same time and I just love everything that made it for what it was.  I’m going to be playing “Detective Grimoire” after this but I got the sneaking feeling I won’t be enjoying the game as much as this one thanks in large part to the art style but we’ll see.  SFB Games, when you make another game, please include Sally in it as she really makes the game that much better.

Final thoughts and notes

  • I totally ship Fitz and Poppy, such a potentially cute couple
  • The creative puzzles were at the right level of difficulty.  That magnifying key puzzle was a bit of a pain but we got through to it in the end!
  • The damaged cassette tape was pretty creepy with the humming and all.
  • The map was amazing and definitely helpful to visualize where everyone was during the murder
  • Kind of disappointed that Penelope didn’t have bird arms in the end
  • So Felix just straight up didn’t carve a Fifi statue for Flora (her mom).  Yikes, poor Fifi.
  • Can we agree that Professor Pointer is a creep for peeping on Flora?
  • Love all the side conversations and settings of Tangle Tower, really hones in the history of the place.  I think this was most apparent for Freya’s storage-turned-bedroom.  Really shows how the family thought of her.