Review of Pokemon Detective Pikachu (from someone who played the game, too!) (spoilers)

I went and saw Pokemon Detective Pikachu today. Let me start by saying it was better than I thought it would be! The Pokemon designs were integrated well and the humor, and action were pretty good. Before the movie was released I was concerned that it would have too much that lined up with the Detective Pikachu game but would change the details so much it would be weird to me, but I don’t think that was an issue. (In particular I noticed that the movie had a lot of characters who clearly corresponded to someone from the game but had a different Pokemon, but they were all different enough that it was clearly not meant to be 1:1 and really Detective Pikachu was the only character I’d say was in both the game and movie, even if Tim Goodman shared his name between them.) I liked what they did with the story, both in taking things from the game and making new plot points.

I have a friend who has been somewhat vocal about not liking the realistic designs of the Pokemon, saying they should be more cartoony like the original designs and it’d be fine just suspend your belief they’re cartoons they should look like cartoons just put ’em next to real humans! I for one am glad they went the direction they did, though. I think it looked really well–immediately I felt like those Pidgey or PIdgeotto or Pidgeot or whatever were a part of the real world, as were the Bouffalant. Bouffalant? They’re starting with later gens already, cool! It wasn’t always perfect, but it made it feel more real than Pokemon ever has been.

Now, the game had a pretty formulaic setup. It was divided into chapters, and each chapter generally ended and began with Tim going from the apartment to the police station and sometimes the cafe. (Oh, right, Ludicolo was the only other character who had the exact same role as the game. I’m a bit sad they didn’t make Ludicolo’s partner a character like in the game but I suppose that wasn’t really necessary.) Obviously the movie wouldn’t be styled like that so it makes more sense they were more on the own and apart from any authority here. The identity of the villain kind of reflects this, although in both cases it’s someone who acts like they’re helping but are actually misleading them.

Lickitung is precious and I love it. I hope the home release has an hour of deleted scenes with it.

When the original trailer released some people were like “ryan reynolds as pikachu??? how crazy!!” But it sounded completely normal as a Pikachu to me because I’d played the game where he had this super deep voice and it was way funnier. I think ultimately they made a good choice for the more serious moments–a silly deep voice works when Detective Pikachu is talking to you a lot but here I think it works. I was kind of vocal about liking the game’s voice more so this is a turn for me.

Mr. Mime was also amazing. Just make a sequel starring Lickitung and Mr. Mime. It was goofy and expressive, making it a bit more cartoony than most of the Pokemon in the movie, but given it was Mr. Mime I think that works.

The action was actually way better than I was expecting! I wasn’t expecting much action at all but I think it was done well and smoothly. This movie, being made to mimic the real world a lot more than the game, makes sense to have a seedy underbelly where there are Pokemon fights in a city where they’re not allowed. It made a lot of stuff more sinister, really–while the laboratory was clearly more of an evil operation, the laboratory in the game actually consisted of scientists doing good things, and there just happened to be one bad apple who discovered R.

One thing I actually wasn’t a fan of in the movie was the giant Torterra scene. I was talking with a friend afterwards though and I’m less harsh on it now. As much as I liked the action in the scene I felt it dragged on a little bit, but my main issue was that I felt these kaiju Torterra would BE EASILY NOTICED BY PEOPLE MAYBE?? But my friend points out it was probably Psyduck’s headache blast that woke them up, especially since they lay back down shortly after, so it makes enough sense for me to be okay with it in retrospect.

I was worried that Mewtwo was going to be made into the bad guy in the movie so I’m glad he wasn’t. (I tend to have an issue when a legendary is made the bad guy because they’re often shown as being one-of-a-kind, which means this Pokemon species is just evil. Just make it a random Pokemon like a Honchkrow or Shinx.) In the game it’s clear he had something to do with Harry’s disappearance and Pikachu’s loss of memories, but he’s just there to make sure R is all disposed of, so he’s definitely more of a presence in the movie. Also in the game R is purely made to increase Pokemon’s battle capabilities and sell it. When the dudes organizing that are stopped it’s all over, but surprise! We still don’t know what happened to Harry Goodman! But then the movie goes and introduces R as a way for humans and Pokemon to merge, which is no doubt how Harry and Pikachu merge to begin with. But the games? Well…

I have a friend who suggested that maybe they’d planned the game to be three episodes, as the full release included what was originally a separate release of the first few chapters, and that the third episode would have them find Harry and solve that mystery. Which makes me wonder–was the original plan to include this human-Pokemon merging as a plot point in the final episode of the game? Was the movie actually based on the game’s plot a lot more than it seems?

Half of this review is just me explaining differences in the game and movie and throwing out fan theories I guess. But ultimately I give this movie the approval of both an old Pokemon fan and a player of the Detective Pikachu game. They leaned into the Pokemon references without going so far that it got annoying. (Although I still think having Looker appear played by David Tennant would have been amazing.) It had decent action and humor and some good silliness here and there.

Now I hope they make a sequel where Detective Pikachu gets married and has a kid and then that kid gets merged with Pichu accidentally and it’s called Pokemon Detective Pichu! Make it happen, whatever company made this movie! I don’t remember!!

Game Review: Detective Pikachu

Wow, this game is a lot newer than the last one I talked about! It’s only been what, a month? Well, I finished Detective Pikachu and the Case of the Coffee Cup, or whatever, so let me say a few things about it. SPOILERS AHEAD

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Game Review: Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Think about it. It’s been 2/3 A WHOLE YEAR SINCE THIS GAME CAME OUT. It’s been known about for almost a whole year. For almost a whole year Mario and Rabbids have been together. Yeesh.

So anyway I got this game at Clichemas and finished it like a week ago–well, I beat the final boss, anyway. I haven’t 100%ed it yet, and it’s not particularly high on my to-game list, but it’s still on there. So what are my thoughts on this game?

Well, to be honest, the Rabbids are the least problematic part of this game. They’re easy to hate, but there are a few moments where they’re good and even cute. Pretend I got the footage of that, I don’t think I ever downloaded it. No, the gameplay is worse than the Rabbids. All games of this type have randomness built in, but there were absolutely moments where I only won because luck happened, or the opponent got a lot of luck to win. And let me tell you, replaying fights is the worst. Okay, maybe not the worst, but when you do it over again you want to get going quickly and instead it just slowly pans over the area like the first time you start with no way to skip that. I’m nitpicking, perhaps, but blah blah blah.

Speaking of quickly, maybe I’m just impatient but there were many times where I moved the cursor to a spot and clicked on it to make a move, only to realize I didn’t go to the exact spot I wanted it to go to and the wrong thing happened. So that was annoying and the camera movement in the battles is kind of off, it snaps to a square but that usually just means it snaps to the square before the one you want.

The difficulty is also really weird. There were a few instances where a chapter spikes in dififculty with a hard fight that takes me several tries, and then the difficulty goes back to where it was with some pretty easy fights. I suppose it could be based on how I upgraded characters, which was usually not focused on HP because look at all this other good stuff I can get. That said, one thing annoying about the level-up system is you can actually undo all the bonuses and redistribute them, but you can’t just undo one thing at a time? Just seems like it’d be a big time waster then…

Also, when’s the DLC to play as these guys, Ubisoft?

All that said, it was a fun game and fun to look at, too, and if you like turn-based strategy games and if you like Mario, I’d recommend it. Actually, isn’t that pretty much like how Fire Emblem plays?

is fire emblem+rabbids next?

Review of Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North

A little while ago I finished this book that I got a little over a month ago. I had a post about it; it’s a “chooseable-path adventure” version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare by Ryan North, a sequel to the same thing but with Hamlet called To Be or Not To Be. I don’t do reviews all that often but maybe I should start. Maybe the best way to make myself better at reviews is to do more of them?? Just note that this will largely be in view of someone who read the first book, To Be or Not To Be, which I also recommend.

First thing’s first, this book actually solved a major issue I had with To Be or Not To Be, which was that in that book you had the path that followed the original play Hamlet, and it felt largely like the other paths were just sprouting off this main one. There were a few places where a totally new storyline would sprout, but for the most part you had to read through a lot of one path to find a number of endings. With this book the paths that deviate from the original early on feel more like their own stories, and there are numerous locations where you can veer off but then return to the original story, so if you want to read to the end of the normal story more than once you have option so you don’t reread a lot of things.

Another area this book improves on the first is simply how it’s designed. The first gave every choice at least its own page, which led to a lot of empty space. This one divides the choices into sections, so most of every page is utilized. There was only one spot where this was problematic, as one section had two choices listed but the second choice was on the second page, so it could be easily missed. Also: I know nobody actually cares about the design. I’ll move on.

This book has not one but two story-within-a-stories (not counting the Romeo and/or Juliet-within-a-Romeo and/or Juliet), and one is about drugs and amazing and has an adorable Puck (thanks to one Andrew Hussie). A few other outlandish things from To Be or Not To Be return as well, such as ghost time travel, but I actually felt the returning outlandish things weren’t utilized as interestingly as in the first book.

But this book does have new outlandish things that are amazing, such as controlling more than one character at once or unlockable characters. Yes, you can unlock a character by completing a certain path. It’s pretty obvious which path it is, though. Maybe next book Ryan can fit an unlockable character into an unexpected path. Come on, let us choose a story using one of those robot suits!

Ultimately this story is hilarious, and that’s the point. Whether it’s the witty or silly characters (definitely the best-written Friar Lawrence ever), the Shakespearean prose reduced to plain English/bullet points/power point slides, or just the ridiculous narration (find out how he gets out of writing a sex scene!!), every path has something to laugh at. In the end I would have to say this book is an improvement on the first, and book scientists that I totally didn’t pay off thought that was impossible!

Reader Reviews for Slubes (and a question for indie authors)

In just under two weeks Slubes will be re-released in edition 2: everything’s been improved edition. On Thursday, March 10th, it comes out. Between now and then, though, if there is anyone interested in reading it ahead of time (if you can read 300 pages in two weeks) and then posting an honest review online (whether on Amazon, a blog, Goodreads, or where have you), I will be perfectly willing to send you an e-copy of Slubes to do so. Then when the book is released I can send you a thing so you can officially get the book for free through Smashwords.

Again, this would be an honest review, so if you hate it, by all means. (Just say why you hate it, and it can help others decide if they would agree.) It’s win-win, probably. You get a book to read with no money paid, and I might get some exposure. Just post a comment here or Twitter to me if you’re interested. If you stumbled upon this place with no idea what the novel is about, it’s some amalgamation of humor, science fantasy, and adventure, so if that piques anyone’s interest, here’s the description from the back cover:

When disaster falls, there are only three heroes who, well, know about it. It remains to be seen if they can do anything about it.

The planet Mintop is on the verge of invasion. Three slubes–distant relatives to slugs–find that an intergalactic conqueror is after a crystal of immense power in their town. According to legend, removal of this crystal has always led to a town-wide disaster. When it shatters in the sky, a race begins—the three slubes must rebuild the crystal before a new disaster takes place. That is, if one hasn’t already happened, as the space invader isn’t about to lose such a powerful artifact and aims to stop their collectathon.

Numer, the happenstance hero with a nervous disposition, Cherry, the strong-tailed martial artist, and Professor Zeth, the well-meaning but careless inventor. These three semi-heroes must overcome The Conqueror’s obstacles if they are to save their planet from the disaster of an intergalactic invasion.

The debut novel of Duth Olec and perplexed narrator Wally Plotch chronicling tales of the Cloudy Cuckoo Cosmos, and the first of two novels in the Nottle Crystal series.

You know, as long as I’m reaching out to the internet, if any indie authors out there are looking for more people to read their stories, I’ve actually been looking for some indie writing to read lately, authors and writers who are basically sailing the same sort of waters I am. I’ll read just about anything; I prefer to have some humor, but I’ll also read a more serious tale, and I also don’t just read science fiction/fantasy, either. So, you know, whatever, charge ahead.