Snack World Review: A Tasty and Rather Fun Game!

Crystal Sword

Japanese games are some of my favorites! Don’t get me wrong, I’ll love the occasional game made in America or Canada. However, a lot of major game companies have become hard to trust as of late. Due to shady business practices, unfinished games, and the inability to treat the customer well, I’ve become disenfranchised with major game publishers and developers. However, Japanese game studios tend to be a lot better on this front.

The games Japan puts out aren’t always winners, but at least there’s more effort put into them. Case and point: Level-5. These are the guys behind awesome games like Yokai Watch, Ni No Kuni, Professor Layton, Fantasy Life, and many others. If you play a lot of Japanese games, then you’ve probably bumped into this developer at least once or twice.

One of their most recent games has finally made its way west after being in “localization hell” for 2 years! This game finally came to North America and slipped under most people’s radars. This obscure gem was released on Valentine’s Day and it’s probably one of my favorite Switch games so far! Without further adieu, let’s talk about “Snack World”!

The game takes place in the titular Snack World, which mixes sci-fi with classic fantasy. In this world, half of the economy seems to be based around selling trading cards of Princess Melonia, a stuck-up and selfish daddy’s girl who has half the kingdom swooning over her. You play as a custom character and wake up in “Tutti Frutti”, a nearby city that just happens to house Melonia and a gaggle of other silly characters.

3 Genies
You ain’t never had friends like these!

Working alongside a silver-haired wannabe hero named Chup, you set out on quests to fulfill Melonia’s seemingly pointless requests. While this happens, a maniacal villain looms in the background and you eventually have to rise up and defeat him. It’s typical fantasy stuff, nothing too revolutionary or extreme.

However, there’s one thing that makes the story and its characters excel beyond the kind you’d find in a typical kids game: The writing. This game is stuffed with adult jokes and fourth-wall breaks, which is probably its strongest feature. The writing even carries over into the side-quests, which are some of the most ridiculous quests I’ve ever taken part in.

There’s a quest that involves a romance subplot between two ant monsters, another quest where you beat people up and then hold a concert for a mermaid pop idol, and even one where you discover a forest ranger’s “forbidden passion”. The game is just so over the top in how it delivers its content and I love every second of it!

Honestly, I could just ramble about the writing all day, but I do have to discuss the combat and gameplay. The game is your typical dungeon-crawler, but with a few twists. For one thing, you keep all the items you’ve gathered if you die on a quest. I can’t tell you how much of a god-send this is, because it means that I’ll never lose a really good item if I mess up!

Speaking of items, the game is SWIMMING in loot! There’s tons of weapons to collect, armor/clothing to craft, and accessories to equip.  The game doesn’t hand out a lot of these at the start, so you’ll need to grind to get most of them. The game’s constant grinding is both its strongest and weakest element at the same time.

It’s strong because it’s fun to grind, especially due to the randomized dungeons giving a lot of replay value. It’s weak because the game’s RNG seems to be all over the place most of the time and the randomized dungeons tend to get old after a while. Thankfully, the game does things to circumvent the grind a bit. For example, some weapons can boost rare item drop rate. You can also boost your Luck skill to help with drop rates.

The game’s combat is pretty basic, but fun. You have access to a number of weapons called “Jaras”, which you can switch to on the fly. The game lets you auto-equip these Jaras before a mission and lets you switch to them in combat with a single button-press. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me in a pickle!

From there, you just bop enemies with a weapon they’re weak against until they fall down. The game has an insane variety of enemies and bosses to do battle with, making the combat always feel rewarding. On top of this, various NPCs and monsters can join your side as “Snacks”.

You can bring up to 3 of these Snacks into a battle and they’ll help you in combat. While this is a great feature, it can be somewhat broken at times. Some Snacks are just way too overpowered to the point of breaking the game. For example, you can basically become unbeatable in most scenarios if you have 3 “Spritely Old Men” on your team.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good. It is pretty easy to tell that this game was ported over from the 3DS, but the visual fidelity was increased to fit better with the Switch. While I have never played the original version, I can definitely say that the developers did a good job at giving this game a new coat of paint.

If I had any major problem with this game, it’d be the voice-acting. The voice-acting isn’t the worst, but each character and monster only has a few recorded audio lines each. They’ll repeat these few voice lines several times, to the point where you’ll want to rip off your own ears after a few chapters.

While the repeated voice lines are annoying, they aren’t a deal-breaker. What may be a deal-breaker for a lot of people is the price. This game is 65 dollars Canadian, which I feel is a bit excessive. While the game definitely has enough content to warrant its high price, it just lacks the polish of most 60 dollar games.

Regardless, it is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend. The gameplay is fun, combat has a nice rhythm to it, and the online multiplayer is pretty damn good. If you’re on the fence about this game, then it’s best to wait for a sale. I’d say that this game is a pretty solid dungeon crawler with good writing and fun characters, but it sadly doesn’t offer much beyond that. There’s no gameplay mix-ups here, just good old-fashioned slashing and looting. However, that’s all I was looking for when it came to this game, so it definitely filled that void!

Limozeen: The Best Fake Band of All Time

I’ve made it no secret that the Homestarrunner cartoons are some of my favorite web-shows of all time! This is a online cartoon series that has been running for nearly 2 decades and put out a lot of quality content. This series revolves around the dimwitted Homestarrunner, the supposedly “cool” Strong Bad, and a host of other crazy characters. By far, one of the most interesting group of characters the site has ever produced was the band “Limozeen”.

Originally thrown out as a possible good band name in the Strong Bad Email called “Band Names”, Limozeen quickly became a recurring set of characters withing the Homestarrunner universe. The group is portrayed as an “80s hair metal band” filled with a ton of over-the-top members. The lead singer is a man who is constantly screaming at all times, named Larry.

The band also has other members, but Larry always seems to be the most prominent when they show up. What I loved about Limozeen (aside from their music) was the fact that they often came across as losers. For example, they had an extremely unsuccessful 80s cartoon that got cancelled halfway through the pilot. On top of this, Larry is so desperate to hang around with other people that he’ll even personally ask his own fans to join his guild in a MMORPG.

Limozeen was always the most interesting part of the site, at least in my eyes. Unlike most of the characters on the site, Limozeen were portrayed by live-action actors. The Chap Brothers, the creators of the site, and 2 of their friends got together to play this fake band. They went all-out on trying to look like a hair metal band and even wore those silly blonde wigs musicians from that era were known for!

By far, the best thing about Limozeen is their music. They are mostly known for “Nite Mamas” and “Because It’s Midnite”, two of the most rocking tunes the internet could conjure up! They sound like your stereotypical heavy metal songs from the 80s, complete with nonsensical lyrics and plenty of guitar solos!

I think the main reason I like these characters so much is that they add a lot to the fictional world that Homestar and friends live in. Having “real” bands within this universe helps flesh it out more. It also gives the Chap Brothers the excuse to add in some live-action sequences to their cartoons.

To me, Limozeen is more than just a fake band made for a popular web-cartoon. The songs created for this band are legit bangers and the band-members have so much personality that it’s hard to forget their names. They will always be the best fake band to me, because they’re just that good.

Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of The Rings is a forgotten MASTERPIECE!

Lord of The Rings

Middle-Earth is one of the most celebrated fantasy settings in all of fiction. It’s home to both “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of The Rings” books, but also encompasses a much grander universe present in its various spinoffs. Middle-Earth is also the setting of the various movies adapted from the Lord of The Rings books. While a lot people may clamor to the famous LOTR films made by Peter Jackson, my favorite Lord of The Rings movie is MUCH older than that.

Let’s talk about “Lord of The Rings (1978)”, an old and rather forgotten film by Ralph Bakshi. For those of you who don’t know, Ralph Bakshi was a pretty famous director of animated movies in the 70s and 80s. Ralph Bakshi put out classic animated films like Fritz The Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Wizards. He was known for making animation for adults, which was a rare thing at the time.

It was only natural to have this man direct a Lord of The Rings film adaptation, which is a book series aimed at an older audience. This movie is amazing for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, it adapts the entire first book and the first half of the second book. It’s able to handle adapting these books extremely well, even if some really good parts were cut for time.

It’s certainly a faithful adaptation and a rather lengthy one at that. This film is over 2 hours long, which is pretty damn long for an animated film in the 70s. Speaking of animation, that’s probably one of the best things about this film. The animation is stellar and it even mixes in traditional animation with rotoscoping techniques! Rotoscoping is when you take live-action footage and draw over it.

Using this technique, Bakshi and his team were able to produce stellar animation that allowed for more flexibility than what traditional animation allowed at the time. Hell, they were even able to depict giant armies fighting each other using this technique! At the time, such a battle would’ve been way too expensive to produce with standard film animation.

I also liked the film’s story, despite the condensing of its plot. Despite the removal of fan favorite characters like “Tom Bombadil”, the film follows its source material quite closely. It revolves around Frodo and Gandalf’s quest to cast the “One Ring of Power” into the fires of Mount Doom and destroy it.

I’ve oversimplified the plot, but that’s the main gist of it. Along the way, Frodo and Gandalf are joined by various colorful characters and form a “Fellowship”. The Fellowship are then tasked with making their way through this world filled with evil and completing their quest to destroy the One Ring.

Couple this with an amazing soundtrack, fantastic voice-acting, and a ton of dark atmosphere and you have one of the most intense fantasy films to come from this era. I will admit that the film does have problems. For one thing, the film doesn’t always mix in the rotoscoped animation with the traditional animation very well.

A good example of this is the rather trippy sequence in the tavern, where Frodo is drawn and animated normally and the rest of the crowd are clearly real people that have been drawn over. Still, some of this animation mixing works in the film’s favor. For example, the horrifying ring-wraiths are rotoscoped and it gives them a rather unnatural feeling in scenes that involve traditional 2D animation. It definitely fits these hideous monsters well!

Now you can see why this film is one of my favorites. It’s an epic fantasy film with good characters and stellar animation! It’s a shame that most people have forgotten this movie nowadays. It’s a film that definitely deserves a second look from any hardcore Lord of The Rings fan! In my opinion, it’s the “One Film To Rule Them All”!

No, I am not apologizing for that joke.

The Unknowns: Professional Superhero Outcasts Chapter 2

Author’s Note: Originally, I wanted this series to focus exclusively on Sean as it’s sole protagonist. Sean Waking was based on the legend of “Sun Wukong”, also known as The Monkey King. I thought it’d be cool to base a character off an old Chinese novel that I really dug.

While developing the story, I thought of other characters that would fit the team and thought I’d introduce them in side-stories before bringing them into the main cast. That way, each hero gets to be a protagonist of their own series before joining together. Reggie Thompson is one such character.

Reggie was inspired by the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas. The inspiration hit me in the lyrics of his Real World song, which went “I wonder what it’s like to be a superhero.” I liked the idea of some regular dude becoming a superhero, so I came up with this troubled outcast hero who manages to be both a hero and a menace at the same time.

Chapter 2: The God’s A Monster Part 1

At the same this was happening, a very different story was unfolding elsewhere. Several miles away from Dyna-Charge city laid the small town of “Ultra-Drive”. The town of Ultra-Drive was home to only a few superheroes and a near endless amount of supervillains. The reason for there being so few superheroes in town is that being a superhero in this neck-of-the-woods place wasn’t as profitable as it was in Dyna-Charge. The STRB had no standing in the town and there were no superhero-based organizations present in the city at all.

As such, more people turned towards villainy as that proved to be far more beneficial to one’s self. As such, the city was flooded with wannabe villains who wanted to drain the town’s plentiful economy and use the finances to move out of it. Despite repeated supervillain attacks, the town was surprisingly prosperous and had seemingly limitless funding. No one knew how the town kept getting as much funding as it did, making it a grand mystery in this quiet town.

Still, one may wonder why only a small group of heroes is able to hold back the overwhelming forces of evil in such a small town. The real reason for this is due to one man, Reggie Thompson. Reggie was a seemingly normal guy at first glance. He wore a blue shirt and pair of blue jeans, which was his outfit of choice. His hair was blonde and somewhat messy, due to him never bothering to style it.

He also wore a pair of black runners that had seen much better days. While Reggie did seem normal on the outset, he was far from being your typical guy. Reggie had superhuman abilities that were at godlike levels. He had super strength that could allow him to lift mountains, super-speed that allowed him to outrun bullet trains, and a level of invulnerability that bordered on the absurd.

It was due to these godlike abilities that Reggie was an outcast. Due to an incident 20 years that ended with Reggie losing control of his powers and leveling part of the town, everybody quickly lost trust in him. He became an outcast, despite eventually gaining control of his immense powers.

Nobody would talk to him or look him in the eye. Instead, people would just run away whenever they spotted him! He was an outcast, but he didn’t mind too much. In fact, he found that his status as a “harbinger of destruction” meant that he could go anywhere and do whatever he wanted! Nobody had the guts to tell him he couldn’t do something and he certainly had the power to back that sentiment up.

Today was just another one of those days where he was allowed to do whatever he wanted! It was a sunny day outside while Reggie was strutting around town. People saw the 6 foot tall bringer of destruction walking around and quickly moved out of his way, fearing that he would obliterate them if they they looked at him wrong.

He made his way over to a nearby bowling alley and opened the glass door to the building. He strutted inside the building and everyone inside it immediately took notice of him. People stopped dead in their tracks and looked right at him as a dead silence gripped the building.

“Sup, everybody?” Reggie asked in a very nonchalant tone. The people around him ignored his greeting and panicked at the very sight of him. They ran around screaming and freaking out. They quickly ran past Reggie and piled out of the building, fearing for their lives as they did so.

Reggie simply shrugged his shoulders and walked over to the corner of the bowling alley. After everyone had vacated from the premises, Reggie decided to enjoy himself. He made his way over to a vending machine near the farthest bowling lane and pulled a small coin from his pocket. Sliding the coin into the vending machine’s slot, Reggie quickly punched in the number for his desired item.

A can of soda rolled down from the machine and into the chute at the bottom. Reggie reached in and pulled the can from the machine, like an explorer grabbing a rare diamond. Plucking the soda from its resting place, he gripped it firmly in his hand and walked over to a table.

Reggie sat down and was about to open his can of soda, only to be interrupted by the sounds of screaming from outside. “Can’t a man drink his soda in peace?!” Shouted Reggie as he abruptly stood up. Reggie ran towards the door and pushed it open, right before walking outside.

He immediately spotted the thing that was causing people to freak out: A giant monster made out of blue goo! This giant slime ball had a visible mouth and piercing yellow eyes. “Fear me, town of Ultra-Drive! I am Mr. Gelatinous, the greatest villain of all time!” Shouted the slime-ball in a strange and echo-y tone of voice.

Reggie looked up at the slime monster and proceeded to glare at him. “Get out of my town, I’m trying to drink soda!” Shouted Reggie while staring up at the slimy monstrosity. “Look at the balls on this one! You dare challenge the mighty Mr. Gelatinous, little one?” Asked the blob of slime as he moved closer to Reggie.

“Nah, it’s not a challenge. Pretty sure something needs to be difficult to be a challenge.” Said Reggie in a smug tone-of-voice. “Ah, to be so young and foolish! Very well, you shall be the first to die!” Shouted the blob as he advanced on Reggie. Reggie balled his hand into fist and held out his arm. He then pulled it back and smacked it directly into the giant blob with a hearty punch.

The blob’s body began to vibrate, before exploding violently! Bits of slime rained down from above as the blob’s body split apart. “What the hell?!” Shouted the many pieces of Mr. Gelatinous in tandem with each other. “No one interrupts my quality time and gets away with it. Leave now and I won’t break you into smaller chunks!” Exclaimed Reggie as he narrowed his eyes at the blobs.

“Very well, I shall leave! Just be warned, you haven’t heard the last of Mr. Gelatinous!” The individual blobs then slithered away into nearby sewer grates and effortlessly entered them using their liquid bodies. The blobs soon disappeared from sight, leaving Reggie alone. Reggie looked around and found that nobody had seen him fend off the giant blob. Everybody had vacated the streets and nobody had bore witness to Reggie’s heroic feat, just like always.

He let out a deep sigh and hung his head in disappointment, right before re-entering the bowling alley. It was always the same with him: He’d do a heroic act, but either nobody around would see it or nobody would care. He was an outcast to everyone else, someone who was treated as a monster for something he did by accident 20 years ago. Reggie gave his head a good shake and decided to shove those bad thoughts to the back of his subconscious. He decided to focus on the good and re-entered the bowling alley.

As Reggie walked through the empty bowling alley and towards his table, he noticed something odd. His soda was still there, but it appeared to be encased in some kind of translucent green pyramid. Said pyramid appeared to be made out of some kind of strange pulsating energy. “What the heck is this?! How am I supposed to drink my soda in piece now?” Asked Reggie as he stared at his encased soda.

“Don’t you know that stuff will rot your teeth, dear boy?” Asked a strange and ethereal voice from behind. Reggie turned around and found what appeared to be a bunch of floating green triangles made out the of same raw energy that covered his soda! The triangles flew about and then drifted towards each other. The triangles then began to interlock with each other, forming a vaguely humanoid shape in the process. They formed into a strange triangle-man, like something out of a weird sci-fi movie from the 80s.

Reggie stared at the bizarre triangle-man in awe, while being utterly confused at what the being was. “Hello, good sir! I’ve come here to talk to you about something. Tell me… Is it true you killed your own parents 20 years ago?” Asked the triangle-man in his bizarre and alien-sounding voice.

Reggie narrowed his eyes at the triangle-man as repressed memories came flooding back. Memories of an event that forever changed who he was a person and forever cemented his status an outcast. It was recalling these memories that caused Reggie to freeze in place, unable to say or do anything. All he could do was stand there as flood of both rage and sadness began to overtake him…