Spooky Fun in BADLAND

Badland is an award-winning game, and deservedly so. My young one first saw the captivating adventure on a friend’s tablet. Since then, he’s been playing on our home computer. In Badland, players control a bunch of mysterious winged creatures. They look silly, flap their arms to fly, and tumble along any path. Badland is definitely unique, and it’s definitely fun.

I should mention that Badland might be a bit too spooky for very young children (much like The BoxTrolls or Coraline). It’s not a haunting Halloween game, but it’s not as bright and cheery as Cut the Rope. Badland has stunningly pretty graphics, with a glowing sun that lights up a foggy, interesting world. Old trees are overgrown with alien-like flowers and oddly colored bushes. Withered branches hang from high above, occasionally covered in autumn leaves. The world in Badland is deeply imaginative, and it may provide a strong source of inspiration for our creative little ones.

Learning how to play Badland is easy. When gaming on a computer, simply click the main mouse button or press the “up” arrow key to fly. Every single movement stems from that one button. Flying, rolling, and climbing all happens by flapping your character’s arms.
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Dragon Quest Builders for the Playstation 4

What is an interesting way to get your whole family into the role playing game genre while still keeping the little ones excited about open world sand box style gaming, in the same vein as Minecraft?  The answer is the new Dragon Quest Builders game where you play a hero who must rebuild a destroyed kingdom, block by block castle by castle, city by city.  This may sound like a daunting task, but for those of us with a creative mind and a builder’s spirit, it is within reach.

The story is that there was a great battle generations ago, and after such, a hero was tricked into joining forces with a great evil.  The evil Dragon lord took away mankind’s ability to build and imagine, scattering the remains of humanity across the planet.  Your job to rekindle this builder’s spirit and imagination with the help of the Goddess at your side, as well as your own imagination.  The game itself is huge and wide open, able to be explored and built or broken down at will.  There are familiar characters from the Dragon Quest series including Slimes and Dragons, and a familiar art style similar to previous iterations of the Dragon Quest series, with an anime feel instead of the block-y computer graphics of Minecraft.
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Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets – Nintendo 3DS Family Fun Pack for Playstation 4

Today we are looking at the Gravity Falls game for the Nintendo 3DS.  This game follows the familiar characters from the hit cartoon show, Gravity Falls.  In the game, you take the role of both Mabel and Dipper as they try to save the Gnome kingdom.  Game play is 2D platforming with a twist.  You can play as either of the main characters, both of which have unique  gadgets and abilities.  There are 5 main levels to the game in addition to a boss fight.  Each level has cool art and tons of items.  The more items you collect the better, and some are needed to progress to the boss fight.  Through the course of the game, the characters are dead on- the same as the cartoon- unlocking more mysteries as you progress.  This game is great fun for fans of the cartoon series or just video game fans in general. Anyone who wondered about Gravity Falls, this is a great way to get initiated.
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Disney Infinity 3.0 and The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

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Disney is on its third installment of the ever fun Disney Infinity line of games.  This most recent addition to the crew includes not only Marvel and Disney characters but also those of the Star Wars line of characters including Yoda, Darth Vader and Han Solo to name a few.  But this only scratches the surface for this game which is fun for everyone.  This game is great for beginner gamers because of this easy to pick up and play game play.  Each player picks their character from the Disney Infinity figures they own, characters for the previous 2 games work on the third iteration, and play as them throughout the game.  There are specific levels which work with specific characters and all characters can be used in the Toy Box, which is our personal favorite part of the game.  This portion of the game is player created.  People from all over the world can create and share their creations with others and the best are featured as such in the Toy Boxes section of the game.  These Toy Boxes show just how robust the game is as well as how creative the players of the game are as well.  The little guy loves Disney Infinity and the addition of Star Wars characters as well as new Marvel and Disney characters are an added bonus.  This is also a great jumping on point for new players of the series as well, as toys from the previous games in the series work in the Toy Box as well, which is a nice touch.
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Mario Kart 8

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Mario Kart is back and in a huge way.  With HD graphics, anti-gravity driving, and 30 characters, the game is packed to the brim with fun.  Mario Kart has always been one of the “go to” games in the Nintendo franchise, mixing fast moving racing and action style fighting while racing, the games have consistently improved and built more onto the previous iteration.  This is particularly true of Mario Kart 8.  The first thing you will notice is the graphics, sharp and bright and loud its like having and arcade game in your living room- except you and your friends don’t need fist fulls of quarters in order to wipe the floor with each other.  Another advantage of having Mario Kart for the Wii U is the controller, it is perfect for racing games and in my opinion more fun then using the Wii controller.  But both are available for usage with the game.  Also usable is the Wii U Pro controller which is another welcome addition to the party.  Up to 4 players can play at the same time with easy Grand Prix, Challenge more or Balloon popping.  Grand Prix being a set of 4 races and a grand champion is crowned, Challenge is player controlled opponents only to keep the race pure and no one complaining about that Red Shell Luigi keeps throwing at them at the finish line.  Balloon popping is more of a battle royale with lots of action and tons of fun.
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Get Your Game on With Nintendo

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This past weekend, my son, husband, and myself headed to the Nintendo World Store in New York City to check out some of the newest and soon-to-be-released games, including Yoshi’s New Island and Disney Magical World launching soon on the Nintendo 3DS/2DS.  We had a great time playing the new games, checking out the systems, and even answering some fun trivia questions.  My son is a Yoshi pro, so the questions were right up his alley.  He won a prize, which thrilled him to no end (a plush Kamek) and we even won a raffle prize- a Yoshi T-Shirt.

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Keep an eye out for the review of the new Yoshi game!  It will be up shortly.

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In addition, there is some fun news to share with you.  During the month of March, people who register a Nintendo 3DS™, Nintendo 3DS XL or Nintendo 2DS™ system, as well as one of six select Nintendo 3DS games via Club Nintendo, will receive a free code to download either Pokémon™ X or Pokémon Y, the best-selling Nintendo 3DS games of 2013. The six participating games are Mario Kart™ 7Super Mario 3D Land™Animal Crossing™: New LeafDonkey Kong Country™ Returns 3DLEGO® City Undercover: The Chase Begins and the upcoming Yoshi’s New Island™. The system and game must be registered between March 1 and March 31 in order to take advantage of the promotion. Download codes for Pokémon X or Pokémon Y must be redeemed by May 31, 2014.
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R&R Games Twitter Party 3/12

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Got the winter blahs?  Looking for something fun to do with the kids, the family, or in your homeschooling group?  Stop by the R&R Games Twitter Party at 9 pm EST on March 12, 2014 to win games and prizes.
R&R Games is a great company that makes all sorts of games- from classic style board games to stuffed animal games (a new one for me!) they really have something for everyone and every age group.  The mission statement of R&R is to “produce high quality family board games so that we can play around all the time. Fun games. Challenging games. Big games, little games, games that climb on rocks… (Oh wait, that’s something else…) Anyway, that’s our mission.”
They have a wide variety of educational games that would be great for the classroom or homeschooling, and have won more then 30 awards (including the MENSA Select Honor) so you know they have a proven track record.  But more important?  These games are just plain fun!

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Candy Free Easter Baskets

Easter is an often-underrated family holiday, and making Easter morning special for your kids by putting together the perfect basket from “The Easter Bunny” is always fun. To help you celebrate the occasion, here are some great toys that you’ll love doing with the kids.

Easter gamesWonderforge, makers of creative children’s games, has created the Disney Matching game. The classic matching game, where you and your child turn over cards, trying to remember where the matching counterpart is, now with your favorite Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell, Donald Duck, and more all dressed up for Easter. This game will not only be a fun Easter treat, but will also give you and your child bonding time while helping to increase his or her memory, response to patterns, and problem solving skills.

For older children, try the new Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Clash Alley Strategy Board Game. With many of the toys, shows, and games from the 80’s making a comeback, todays kids are loving the new TMNT as much as their counterparts just a few years ago. This is a strategy board game, working in 3D to beat the bad guys and rescue April, eat pizza, complete missions, battle bad guys, Krang, and Shredder. Of course, there will be pizza breaks- turtles have to eat. Enjoy helping your child physically build the game and defeat evildoers together.

For more information, go to http://wonderforge.com/

EasterPatch has two adorable games that are the perfect basket stuffers. The Egg O’Bunnies, a springtime take on a barrel of monkeys, is a cute play on a classic toy that kids will love. Kids will enjoy trying to string together a long line of bunnies by the ears, and see if they can beat mom and dad. Try your skill, see who can get the most bunnies or best time. Also a great take-along game, small enough to put in your purse or carry in your coat pocket. We were the only family playing a game together in a local restaurant while we waited for our dinner- everyone else had their smart phones, tablets, and portable DVD players out, even the smallest children. Increase your family bonding time so easily- unplug once in a while and enjoy each other.
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