Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

detective P01

One of these folks has not has his coffee yet. One has had too much.

pokemon_detective_pikachu_ver2_xlgWhile I’ll confess I’m more of a Monster Rancher person (ah, memories of popping in random or specific CD’s to generate monsters!), I did dabble in a tiny bit of Pokémon starting back in the ’90’s, playing bit of the Red version and a few other titles, eventually tapping out because it wasn’t for me. In he 2000’s. I did eventually play a few of the free games from the franchise though. Both Pokémon Rumble and Pokémon Shuffle were decent, simple time killers on the 3DS for a while. But I wouldn’t say I was devoted to catching them all and nope, I couldn’t tell some evolved types apart even if you handed me a cheat sheet.

That said, I do know Pikachu is a species of Pokémon, so only seeing ONE of them in Pokémon Detective Pikachu was having my well-aged eyebrow creak up a little. Granted, it’s very likely that some younger kids would be a bit confused seeing more than one, so there’s that to consider. That said, I’ve had random conversations with super diehard fans over the years where from kid to adult, they can go on about Pokémon for a while as if they’re real creatures and you can learn everything about them, even if you’re afraid to ask. Try getting stuck in an elevator with a few restless Pokémon fans for about an hour, and someone’s practically guaranteed to whip out their Pokédex notes (NOTE: this has happened three times over a few years, so I must be either lucky… or I need to take the stairs more).

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Detective Pikachu is quite a decent enough film, hitting all the right technical notes (the assorted Pokémon are all perfectly brought to life courtesy of some spectacular CG) and falling back on the usual formulaic three-act structure you’d expect from a movie like this. It’s also likely the best live action videogame to film translation to date, I’d say, Especially after sitting through a few cash-in films over the years that were lacking in a few areas. For anyone new to this sort of thing, it might be a bit overwhelming what with all the visual information presented onscreen (or: this is one very busy film). But for the most part, director Rob Letterman keeps things interesting and for a film partially based on a game of the same name, it’s pretty solid.

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Spooky’s House of Jump Scares: Oh, It SURE Looks Cute At First…

(Thanks, Akuma Kira!)
 

Ha and double ha. For a while, Fridays over at Desura have been interesting thanks to the site dropping four free indie game downloads for all in their Freedom Fridays promotion. Some of these games have been clunkers, others have been classics and a few defy a proper description because they’re so weird or unfinished or both that they feel like experiments that have taken a life of their own, bumped off their programmers and just forced themselves onto the site leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. Thankfully, Lag Studios‘ unique Spooky’s House of Jump Scares doesn’t fit into that latter category.

As you can see from that trailer above, the game starts off cute and simple-looking with cardboard monsters popping out of walls to maybe make you jump a little. But at some point during its thousand rooms, things take a decidedly dark turn as actual monsters drop onto the scene and give chase to your nameless character, a plot of sorts comes into play in the form of discovered notes and all of a sudden, the game with the dopey name you got for no money is freaking you out and you have to keep playing just to see what horrors that next room reveals. Okay, it’s no P.T. or Outlast, but the game will run on nearly anything and has enough tricks up its sleeve to be a nice little Halloween surprise. Anyway, go get Spooky and let her get under your skin. Hey, even if it doesn’t scare you at all, it’s FREE and you can’t be afraid of that price point at all…

Mezco Toys’ All Treat-No Trick Mystery Box: 310 Cheap Chances To Score Big!

(thanks, CentralMarkup!)
 

Mezco Mystery Box“What’s in the box?… WHAT’S IN THE BOX?! Yeah, yeah. Anyway, Mezco Toyz isn’t telling because they want you to BUY one or a couple of these $20 steal deals and I’m not telling because hell, I have NO idea other than you’ll get at LEAST $40 worth of goodies for that money. All I can say is it’ll be one or more items from the company’s popular Universal Monsters, Chucky, The Living Dead Dolls, Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Mez-Itz, Axe Cop, or other product lines. Yeah, you know you’re curious, yellow. Or blue because you want more of these than you can afford (“let’s see now, 310 times $20 is…”). So goes the wild life of the American consumer, right? Anyway, get your own box before they’re all gone!

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Wait, What? GEARBOOOOOOOOOOX!

 
Well, actually, this is 2K Australia’s fault, but still, I blame Gearbox for creating the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Borderlands franchise (one of the only shooters I’ll still play because of the wild, stupid fun to be had and SO many millions of weapons to discover and collect). Wow. Okay, I ignored this news earlier at first because I’d just woken up and thought it was either a late April Fool’s joke or just a joke, period. Ah ha ha… the joke was on me. So, this is happening and it’s coming SOON. As in this Fall 2014 to Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Yeah, THAT’S RIGHT, dammit – the “OLD” consoles are getting this BEFORE the new ones because 2K Games is SMART and knows there are still more millions of you (and me) out there who haven’t committed to one of the new systems just yet. They’re getting my money (again!) for sure…

E3 2013: Konami Pre-Show Event: A Little of This, A Lot of That, Shake Well. BOOM.

The most interesting bit out of this is 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland being chosen as the new voice and face of Solid Snake (!) in the upcoming multiplatform release, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. That was quite head spinning and amusing enough to make me think it was a gag for a minute or two. But it wasn’t, so I guess this is farewell to the original voice of Snake! Well, I know the David Hayter fan base is livid (and I’m sure Hayter’s recent comments about being in the game will be dissected to really mean he’s playing a different character or not actually in it at all – oops), but I say let’s see what happens.

Amusingly enough… even though the official position is Konami wanted an older, more mature guy to play the now 49-year old Snake, it’s a bit of a bizarre rationale to my ears. For those in the know, Hayter provided the voice of a much older Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, so one can only imagine his reaction to this news. Well, he did issue a tweet saying the game would sell about “as well as New Coke!”, so I’m gathering he’s not that pleased with the spiked boot he’s been handed to the butt…

VGA 101: Your Free Game of the Day, Courtesy Google Image Search…

breakoutOK, I normally hate gimmicks like this, but for once, Google actually gets it right, makes me laugh and yes, I get to pass this bit of fun your way. Go to Google Image Search and type the words  Atari Breakout into that search box. Tap that search button and prepare yourself for a nice little (and free) surprise. Try not to lose that ball or you’ll need to load the search again. History and fun in one shot? Cool beans, I say – you get to see a classic game in action and take some more searches away from Bing in the process. Google wins again (damn them, as they own me a small amount of money, grrr…)…