pokemon go

Pokémon GO Celebrates the Holidays this Weekend

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Today kicks off a special holiday weekend event in Pokémon GO. The Santa hat-wearing Pikachu returns this year, as well as new Water and Ice-type Pokémon from the Hoenn region (Gen 3). The event begins later today at 1 pm Pacific/4 pm Eastern.

The first Gen 3 Pokémon were recently added during the Halloween event. As a further incentive to go out and catch ’em all, you can earn a egg incubators from PokéStops. The first PokéStop you spin each day between December 22 and December 25 will award a single-use egg incubator.

If you fancy spending a little money in the in-game shop, you can find some of the best deals during the holiday event. Special boxes will include Super Incubators, Lure Modules and Star Pieces. Star Pieces are a new item that grants bonus Stardust for 30 minutes when activated. Another bundle sale will kick in right after the holiday event, from December 25 through January 4, where you can grab special boxes of Premium Raid Passes, Super Incubators, and Star Pieces.

Niantic, Inc are in the process of updating Pokémon GO to support the new AR+ feature in iOS 11 (supported in iPhone 6 and newer). With this new optional feature, Pokémon will be more accurately positioned and sized relative to their environment and distance from you. AR+ mode adds a new challenge to catching Pokémon by tracking your proximity. Pokémon can flee if they see a trainer coming too close to quickly. The additional challenge comes with more rewards, including XP and Stardust.

The holiday event ends December 25 at 1 pm Pacific/4 pm Eastern.

family-friendly board games

9 Great Family-Friendly Board Games

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Screen time is always a concern for parents, even those of us who look at video games’ potential as a positive influence in our children’s lives. Mobile gaming alone has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. In this age it’s no longer a question if young people play games, it’s which ones.

At the same time we’ve seen the gradual rise of tabletop board gaming, which could viewed as a response to the prevalent amount of screen time we surrounded ourselves with. The Monopolies and Clues of yesteryear have given way to a new generation of classics in Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride.

There are a lot of wonderful, deep, expensive options out there for adults. But if you’re looking for a solid modern board game for the family, we’ve got you covered right here. Here is our list of nine great kid-friendly board games you can enjoy with the whole family.

Eye Found It

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 1-6

There’s a few different variations of Eye Found It, with the most common being Disney Eye Found It. A gigantic 6-foot board provides a visual feast of Disney movies and TV shows. The game plays like a classic roll and move, but if you hit the mouse ears, you draw a card with a symbol, and all players engage in a hidden picture adventure as you try to locate brooms, lamps, villains, and waterfalls.

It’s a simple game that doesn’t rely on reading or math (other than moving the right number of spaces), and everyone comes together to help find the hidden objects. There’s also a smaller card-only version that features the same great artwork and gameplay without the huge space requirements.

Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

The title and theme feels like kid Ghostbusters, but the board looks more like Clue, and the gameplay is purely cooperative. Every turn more ghosts appear in various rooms around the manor. Your job is to collect the scattered treasures while managing the ghosts via dice rolls.

It’s an easy game to learn but difficult to master. In fact it’s one of the more challenging cooperative games I’ve played! The components are a lot of fun, with miniatures for each of the kids, ghosts, and hauntings, and you can even slip the treasure rubies right into the kids’ backpacks as you deliver them outside the manor. A highly recommended challenge that demands teamwork and planning.

Kingdomino

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

The most recently released game on this list is a clever take on dominoes. Instead of numbered pips, these dominoes feature glossy art of medieval countryside. The basic gameplay is similiar; draw dominoes and match the correct pieces. The challenge comes in drafting the right pieces and maximizing your score; match the same zone (swamp, pasture, etc) and your score will multiply by the number of spaces.

Younger kids will need help with the end game scoring, but can still play and enjoy the challenge of building out your own little grid map of domino pieces. It’s also cheap, compact, and plays very quickly.

Labyrinth

family-friendly board games

Age: 7+
Players: 2-4

You won’t find David Bowie and a bunch of goblin puppets here, but you will find a very clever tile-pushing, treasure-hunting adventure. The board is built using a series of tiles with different pathing. Each turn a player slides an entire row in one direction, shifting the maze as you try to gather the treasures indicated on your cards.

It’s a simple concept that can be quite perplexing for kids – in a good way. They have to plan ahead and use trial and error to succeed. Don’t be worried about the age recommendation; this is one of my five year old’s favorite games. Feel free to play around with the number of card treasures that are dealt to each player to control exactly how long you want the game to last.

The Magic Labyrinth

family-friendly board games

Age: 6+
Players: 2-4

The Magic Labyrinth features one of the neatest concepts I’ve seen in a kids game. Using magnets, the player pieces move around what looks like an empty grid. But below them are a series of walls (constructed before you play). The magnetized ball below your piece can hit these walls, stopping your movement and forcing you back to the beginning, an invisible maze!

Like the above Labyrinth the goal is to collect treasures around the board, but this one’s even easier to play with more hilarious results. As you hit walls and find the correct paths, memory becomes the most important skill. The initial set up takes a bit of time, but after that you could get away with using the same, or slightly altered invisible maze for subsequent games.

Pengolo

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Pengolo is a memory game that uses dice and wooden pieces rather than cards. Every turn players roll the dice to determine which colors they’re looking for, then select from the adorable wooden penguin figures to reveal the hidden eggs underneath.

It plays like a cute carnival game as you reveal the eggs, memorize the colors and build your collection. First to six eggs wins. You can also play with a much more aggressive, challenging variation with older kids, and steal from each other’s collections.

Protect the Pride Lands

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Usually licensed games are the bottom of the barrel, typically slapping big kid franchises on older, classic games. Protect the Pride Lands may use the Lion Guard license but it’s an all-new cooperative game, and surprisingly fantastic.

Players control both the Lion Guard and the enemy animals (hyenas, snakes, vultures), drawing cards each turn to move enemies and allies into position. The enemies try to reach Pride Rock, while the Lion Guard has to move to intercept them. You win if you can get Kion onto the last space of Pride Rock, but lose if any villain makes it there first. It’s a compelling game that utilizes time management and strategic deployment of your units, and features nice miniatures of the Lion Guard characters.

Robot Turtles

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Famously popular for a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Robot Turtles is designed to teach kids how to program and code using cards. The game is highly malleable and adjustable, letting you decide where to start the players’ turtles, their ruby treasure, and the various obstacles that you can choose to use.

Each turn players decide which cards they need to use in order to move their turtle, including straight, turning, or firing a laser to melt ice blocks. The goal is to eventually work your way up to using the special programming cards, encouraging kids to use one card to represent several moves – programming their turtle’s actions with a single command. Even if you don’t think your kids have much interest in computer programming, these are still great skills to hone, and giving them complete control over their turtles is a fun variation over so many roll and move games.

Ticket to Ride

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

Yes there’s a smaller, easier Ticket to Ride kids version available (Ticket to Ride: First Journey), but frankly the original game is completely kid-friendly. The North American map is a fantastic way to teach US geography and locations, and the gameplay is as simple as drawing cards, matching colors, and placing down those fun little train pieces.

Players need to plan out their routes from the Destination Tickets they’ve drawn. With younger kids you’ll probably want to play with open hands and give frequent reminders about which cards and colors everyone needs. You’ll probably want to hold off on playing aggressively and blocking others’ routes until you’ve officially drawn them into one of the best family games of the last decade and a half.

pokemon crystal

Pokémon Crystal Arrives on Nintendo 3DS eShop in January

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Nintendo has announced the belated arrival of Pokémon Crystal to the Nintendo eShop on January 26, 2018. It will be available for the Nintendo 3DS for $9.99.

Unlike the Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby 3D remakes, Crystal is the original 2001 Game Boy Color game, ported to 3DS. It was the third game of the second generation of Pokémon titles, Gold and Silver. Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver were released earlier this year on the Nintendo eShop.

There’s no good reason why Nintendo would delay releasing Crystal by several months after Gold and Silver other than the obvious: they wanted you to purchase Gold/Silver first. The third game in a generation is generally considered the definitive edition.

Like Gold and Silver’s re-release, Crystal will feature online trading and battling, as well as compatibility with the Pokémon Bank app. The app allows you to trade Pokémon between games and generations. For example, you can capture Pokémon in Crystal and import them into the newly released Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Pokémon Crystal was the first game in the series to let you choose to play as either a boy or a girl. The fancy animated sprites also required the more advanced Game Boy Color over the Game Boy.

Pokémon Crystal will be available on the Nintendo eShop on January 26, 2018.

harry potter: hogwarts mystery

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Coming to Mobile Next Year

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Jam City have announced a new upcoming Harry Potter game for mobile devices. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will allow players to create their own student wizard and progress through the years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It will arrive on mobile devices, including the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore in 2018.

“Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a mobile gaming experience inspired by J.K. Rowling’s spell-binding lore, and it will be an exciting, fun way for fans to experience the Wizarding World,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “It is great to work with Jam City on the game, as the company has a proven track record of bringing rich, beloved worlds to players of mobile entertainment.”

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will be released under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s official Harry Potter label, Portkey Games. The game is being developed by Jam City, an LA based mobile developer who have developed numerous successful mobile titles such as Cookie Jam and Marvel Avengers Academy.

“What an honor it is for Jam City to develop a mobile game for one of the largest and most iconic brands in history,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “As Harry Potter fanatics ourselves, we have great respect for the millions of people throughout the world who have followed the Harry Potter stories for more than 20 years. This game is a labor of love for our developers and artists, who are dedicated to creating the most magical entertainment and game play experience for everyone who adores J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.”

Portkey Games is launching another Harry Potter mobile title next year in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. It’s an AR game being developed by the makers of Pokémon GO. We should be getting more information about both games next year.

 

humble bundle

A Hat in Time Review

Posted by | PC, PlayStation 4, Reviews, Xbox One | No Comments

Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

While I lack much of the fond nostalgia for the 3D platforming genre, I was completely enthralled by A Hat in Time. Its bright, cheery art and music, witty dialogue, and grandiose level designs instantly catapulted Hat Kid among the upper echelon of the late 90s Golden Age classics.

Simply put: A Hat in Time is the most fun I’ve had with a 3D platformer since Psychonauts.

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