Thursday, 12 September 2019

Thoughts on Thursday: Confession Time!

Okay, okay... I know what you're thinking. That's a helluva clickbait title. And I suppose you're right, but this post is about confessions - or more specifically - collecting confessions.

The first of my collecting sins is that I am so guilty of leaving discs out of their cases for far longer than is necessary. If you've seen one of my recent Instagram posts, you'll know this. And I'm ashamed to admit that it's never just one pile of discs, or even two piles of discs. It's always ungodly amounts of discs in multiple piles, as well as a few random discs slotted in here and there for good measure. My thought process behind the random single discs is "I'll sit that there just now, since the case is on that shelf/near there, and I will put the disc away later". WHY!? I hear you ask. Simply put, I can be a lazy bastard at times. It's not one of my finer qualities, but knowing I can be a lazy bastard is better than just blindly being one. At least I'll sometimes attempt to circumvent this and just tidy as I go. But not enough, no.


Typically, I'll start the long mission of assigning discs back to their correct cases at the precise moment that I decide to take photos of things in the collection and discover that the disc is missing. Frustrating, since this then drags me away from my original plan and putting them all away takes forever. Oh, or my other favourite - when you go to put on a movie or game, but the disc inside the case is an entirely different one than expected. Jeez, this one drives me up the wall (and yes, I know - I'm the cause of it!) since it's never a simple process to resolve this. It's never as quick and easy as "Oh, Spider-Man is in the Red Dead Redemption 2 case, so the RDR2 case will have Spidey". It'a always X is in Y's case, Y is in Z's case and Z is nowhere to be seen. Wait, and where is A-W?

Another thing I'm guilty of is buying duplicates of items I've already got. Granted, this one is definitely not as common - and it's never for high value items (that would be heartbreaking). It's usually a Steelbook, or a cheap game. We've ended up with a number of doubled up releases in the past: Jessica Jones Steelbook, The Wolverine Steelbook, the Jurassic World Lego game to name a few, and 9/10 times the duplicate will sit in the shelves for months before realisation hits. A few times where we've had damaged items too, we've contacted to ask for replacements and they've allowed us to keep the original as well as having a replacement sent. I suppose these don't really count as duplicates as such since the damaged copy isn't the preferred choice, and I'd have been happy to return for the replacement. When this happens, we usually just give the damaged copies to friends who dabble in collecting too.


In a similar vein to the bad memory causing duplicate purchases, it also causes me to frequently lose track of items in the collection. There are things that we know we have. We have photo proof, and remember having the items (and if you know us, we never sell our stuff), but just can't seem to locate them in the shelves. I've got a tendency to rearrange things in the shelves at random, deciding roughly what I want to do and then just winging it. This means it's easy to forget where everything is, as I might remember the shelf it was on for the better part of a year or more, but I've since moved it 6 times. 

As I'm sure other collectors understand, it can be quite difficult to place things in your collection. Everyone has their preferences. Some like to display everything in alphabetical order. Some like to display things grouped by franchise, genre, platform or even by Director or Developer. You might have a preference to break it down into further groupings. Ours is a bit of a mish-mash at the moment due to constant rearranging . The rearranging has mostly been a necessary evil in order to get things off of the floor and onto shelves, so there's been a lot of rotating items to maximise shelf space - with less focus on actually displaying the items.


When we first moved in here, we had a basic layout. Games sprawled out across one side of the room, and blurays (movies/TV series, etc.) had the other side. Wtihin those sides, we had games broken down, roughly, by platform. Then on the individual shelves we would try to group things by franchise where possible. So Mortal Kombat had a shelf, as did Halo. Games like Catherine caused me some trouble as I had two editions of the same game, but a different platform for each (as 360 had one version of Catherine on the cover, with PS3 having the other). So do they get placed together, based on same game? Or apart, based on their platforms. It caused a bit of hassle when trying to get everything on the shelves, but I just had to learn to loosen up a bit with that.

Even this week, when I've been moving things around I've been unsure about placement. I rearranged all of the bluray Steelbooks, placing them in alphabetical order. Some Steelbooks were pulled away from this method: Disney Steelbooks go on the Disney shelf, Mondo Steelbooks have their own space (but oh God, what do I do with the Disney Mondo Steelbooks!?), MCU Steelbooks are in release order, and Arrow releases go on the Arrow shelf. Aaand after doing all that, I stumbled upon a few other Steelbooks placed randomly around other shelves. Those ones I'll figure out another day - I simply cannot be arsed rearranging the same shelf again. I'm lazy.



This burst of rearranging things spurred from wanting to take pics of stuff from the collection for my Instagram - as you may have seen - and realising that I couldn't find certain things. Again, these are things we know we have. They're just buried too deep in the shelves to locate. I wanted to take pics of all of my Mondo Steelbooks, but one or two of the Disney releases that I have (although, admittedly I haven't gotten round to picking them all up yet) were nowhere to be seen, so scratch that off the list. I then decided that it's time to do a big post on all of Cinemuseum's stunning releases (as I'm up to date with all of those), but Shanda's River has escaped me. I know it's in the shelves somewhere - heck Red Sparrow was hidden away for a bit too, but I realised how blind I was when I discovered it just above its new intended location, despite having checked there 10 times prior. This links in with the misplaced disc issue too, where I sit a single, lonely disc on the shelf it should be returned to, and then whilst moving everything about it ends up somewhere else, never to be reunited with its case. Or at least not anytime soon.

Lastly, and this one isn't one that we personally consider to be a collecting sin, but we know plenty of other people do: opening our stuff. Many, many other collectors (and maybe even some of you reading this) believe that these items shouldn't be opened. It might be that they want to prevent items from decreasing in value, or they just simply prefer the look of sealed items. For us, however, we love to open everything up and see all the parts and it makes it so much better to display certain items rather than just the (oftentimes boring) outer box. We do have a fairly large number of sealed items at the moment, purely due to having too many things that came close in time to each other and so as each new item arrived, the ones before were put onto the back-burner, with the intention of "oh, I'll unbox and review that shortly". I will definitely get around to unboxing and reviewing everything - eventually (key word) - but I probably need to pick up some new equipment first.

So if there's anything you'd recommend (or if some lovely companies are reading this and want to send anything my way, I'll be forever grateful!) please let me know :)


So come on, we can't be the only guilty parties here. What collecting sins have you committed?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x



Sunday, 8 September 2019

Asylum Reviews: River City Girls [Xbox One].



WayForward's River City Girls is a fantastic entry to the world of side-scrolling beat-em-ups. You play as one of two characters: Misako and Kyoko, who need to fight to rescue their boyfriends. Two player co-op is supported, which adds some extra fun into the mix as it gives you a second chance if you are downed - as long as your co-op partner can stomp on you on time to revive you!


Fighting feels smooth and responsive, and with different moves and combos, as well as environmental items that you can pick up and smash over your enemies' heads, it's a whole lot of fun. When you first load up the game, you are given the choice of 1-2 players, as touched on above, but also the difficulty at which you want to play (normal or hard), and lastly, if you'd like to turn friendly fire off or on. Whilst playing two-player, with friendly fire off, we noticed that whilst normal hits wouldn't hurt each other, throwing items such as trash cans or chains would in fact still hurt one another, so this is just a little something to be mindful of.

When you've cleared out most of the floor, sometimes the last enemy standing will have a speech bubble appear above their head (shown below). These characters can be recruited to be utilised where needed at a later point. An achievement can be unlocked by recruiting each type of enemy, and whilst only one can be active at a time, this can easily be managed if you keep track of which ones you've already spared a beatdown so far.


The Pause menu in River City Girls also acts as a super-cute mobile phone, with various information held within, including a map showing all of the areas you've currently visited - as well as all of the ones as of yet untouched - and characters you've recuited so far. It also has a move list to show you how to perform each attack - this can be useful as more levels are unlocked by levelling up and using the Dojos. You can add and remove Accessories via your mobile phone, which are items which add helpful bonuses for yourself and your recruits. Keeping track of your Stats can be done here too, allowing you to see how much more EXP is needed for the next level up.

The art style is glorious, with stunning pixel-art graphics that are so detailed and colourful that you'll be in awe over how beautiful everything looks. Cutscenes are interspersed with manga style artwork. An introductory scene makes you feel like you're going straight into an anime, and it feels like there would be so much potential for that! Everything looks fantastic while playing, too - with enemy types and bosses being varied and interesting, as well as figuring out the way in that different enemies will attack keeps you focused.


Sound design is tackled flawlessly as well, with catchy music all throughout River City Girls' story. Voice acting is fantastic, and you might recognise a few familiar ones - including the likes of Jacksepticeye as Godai, and Game Grumps' Arin Hanson and Dan Avidari, playing Jimmy Lee and Billy Lee respectively, and many more. 

Priced at £24.99 on the UK Xbox Store, River City Girls is very affordable for what it offers. With plenty to see and do, you'll have a lot of fun along the way. Whilst it can be a bit of a drag at times to do some necessary backtracking for other areas to check, this is aided with a Fast Travel system. Bus stops allow you to quickly travel to and from certain areas. You'll probably still find an element of backtracking required for this, but it helps to negate that a little.


In the end, we decided to give River City Girls the Collecting Asylum rating of 8.5/10.

Have you played RCG yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Friday, 6 September 2019

Asylum Reviews: Whipseey and the Lost Atlas [Xbox One].


Blowfish Studios' Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is an adorable throwback to 90s Kirby games. You play as Alex, a young boy who is turned into a magical creature called Whipseey upon opening a mysterious book. It's now your mission to uncover the mystery of the Lost Atlas, and get Alex back to his normal body, and back to bed.


Upon our first playthrough, we encountered a bug of some sort that removed the health bar from the top-left of screen and from then on made us impervious to damage. Our daughter took full advantage of this, wanting to take over the controller whilst having a shot for herself. She was able to progress through the entirety of the game, defeating every boss and ultimately finishing the story without taking any damage - unlocking a number of achievements in the process.

Second playthrough, the bug didn't happen again - and on subsequent playthroughs, we've yet to be able to replicate it - so we were able to enjoy the game as intended. It feels very much as you'd expect, with you running and jumping your way through the 2D platform world. You also have a whip to use as your main weapon, and it can also be used to swing from tether points located around the world. It's not an overly difficult game, but sometimes can prove to be a bit of a challenge when getting used to hitboxes and taking unnecessary damage. Swinging on your whip for instance requires extreme precision when trying to attach to a tether point, and attacking bosses can be a bit hit or miss when trying to whip fast enough after jumping to hit their heads.


The 2D pixel art-style is really cute, and the pastel colours are really pleasing to the eye. Levels are varied, and with a changeover - in the form of going through doors - in between short sections of the level, allows for more variety in backdrops across a level. It also adds a degree of nostalgia to the game, harking back to the days of Wonder Boy.

It's a very short game at only five levels with five main bosses to come up against, but this isn't too much of a bother considering the low price point of the game. On the UK Xbox Store, it can be purchased for just £4.99, and has a full 1000 Gamerscore to hunt down and unlock if you want to give yourself a bit more replayability.


In the end we decided to give Whipseey the Collecting Asylum rating of 6/10.

Have you played WATLA yet?What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Reviews: Rogue Singularity [Switch].


Published by Nnooo and developed by Considerable Content, Rogue Singularity is an adorable 3D platformer where you play as a robot on his mission to save the universe.

Each level is procedurally generated, keeping things interesting and preventing you from learning too easily. You'll find lots of obstacles on your way to the end of each level, and some can catch you more off guard than others. The depth perception of your third person viewpoint can sometimes be way off, leading to simple, frustrating deaths. This can cause some traps (as well as some normal jumps) to require a bit of blind faith in that you'll make it through to the end.


Surfaces can often feel slippery, with any forward momentum during a jump continuing just a touch after landing. You eventually adapt to this, but for a while you may find yourself panicking slightly every time you jump to a fairly small platform, in the worry that you'll fall off in to the abyss.

The art style is cute and eye-catching, with bright colours dominating every inch of the screen. One thing that I noticed within the options is that you can adjust all text to a Dyslexic suitable font, which isn't something you often see implemented, and was a nice touch. Completing a level can be done in your own way, which allows you to choose between just running straight for the end, or bouncing around collecting all of the coins available to you - often requiring you to veer off the usual path to do so, before doubling back to head for the exit.


Character customisation allows you to adjust your little robot to look how you wish, and abilities can be purchased to upgrade your robot, using the coins collected throughout each level. Items can also be purchased using the coins, each as a one-time use. These vary from items to place a jump-pad wherever you like, to an item magnet to pull collectibles closer to you.

Utilising the extra abilities (and items where needed) is really important to being successful in Rogue Singularity. As mentioned before, some levels can be really difficult and navigating around the electric traps and rotating flames can be made much easier by having some new abilities. Also taking the time to work out a plan of attack can be useful, as you can sometimes find shortcuts easily accessible by just jumping across to other platforms and working your way around.


Priced at just £13.49 on the UK Nintendo eShop, it's a cheap and cheerful addition to your digital collection of games, and one that you'll have a lot of fun playing.

In the end, we decided to give Rogue Singularity the Collecting Asylum rating of 6/10.

Have you played it? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Thoughts on Thursday: Confession Time!

Okay, okay... I know what you're thinking. That's a helluva clickbait title.  And I suppose you're right, but this post is  abo...