Kappy’s Spotlight — Return Postage

It’s that time again: #KappySpotlight time, where I talk about badges/items/partners/etc… that are generally seen as “bad” and not used very often by challenge runners. I dive deeper into why they’re perceived the way they are with some cool strategies centered around them mixed in! Today, I’ll be covering another badge in TTYD that is a pitiful return on BP investment — RETURN POSTAGE!

Returnpostage
BP Cost: 7
Move: Returns half the damage Mario receives back to direct attackers.
Glitz Pit Rank: FF

OOF! FF tier, the lowest you can get for the Glitz Pit. But really, it’s not hard to see why. For 7 BP, Mario gets a permanent Spite status (basically, attackers take half damage dealt to Mario on direct attacks). Notice how I said “direct attacks”. This status, honestly, is bad, and that makes Return Postage even worse. It can be used against normal enemies to some effect since most have direct attacks, but since Return Postage is the reward you get for completing the Pit of 100 Trials, the only true way to utilize it very effectively is to complete it pre-Chapter 3 and try and utilize it as you go through the game. Now, for challenge runners completing the Pit pre-Chapter 3 is pretty easy, but it’s still not worth it as the reward for completing the Pit when enemies deal pretty mediocre damage until Chapter 6, so you’re at best dealing 2-4 damage back to enemies and bosses…if it even activates. I said that Spite is bad, and that’s because it only affects direct attacks. Any projectile or magic attack is automatically unaffected, but check out what else isn’t affected:

  • Cortez’s Bite
  • Smorg’s Miasmas (tentacle and claw)
  • Dragon (Hooktail/Gloomtail) Stomp and Bite
  • Magnus Von Grapple 2.0 Drill
  • Doopliss’ Mario Hammer attack

…and more! As you can see, most late-game bosses just don’t care about the Spite Status, even if their moves technically make contact. Still, this badge can be put to use against bosses that do inflict direct damage; let’s get to the strat!

BOWSER & KAMMY STRAT

15 HP, 5 FP
BADGES: P-Up D-Down, Mega Rush, Power Rush, Mega Rush P, Power Rush P x2, P-Up D-Down P, Double Dip, Flower Saver P x2, Power Bounce, Jumpman, Return Postage, Double Pain, Quick Change (39 BP, 42 w/HP Plus) **If using 2 Power Plus P instead of a 2nd Power Rush P, it’s 50 BP, 53 w/HP Plus
ITEMS: Point Swap, Power Punch

T1: Double Dip (Point Swap Goombella, Power Punch), Veil
T2: Can’t move due to Veil *Guard Bite, Superguard Kammy attack if it targets Mario
T3: Power Bounce Kammy (5 bounces) [KO], Multibonk Bowser (6 bonks)[KO]

This strategy is pretty wild, so let’s dive in. First off, check out all that BP. We could get away with less BP if we had more Mario HP, but the big problem there is that the more turns we let the fight go on, the more chances Kammy has to ruin our strategy with her magic. So, we need to finish this by Turn 2 or 3. I wanted to really make use of Return Postage, so I decided on a Turn 3 finish because of Bowser’s AI. More on that later. Bowser has 70 HP, 7 ATK, and 2 DEF. He’s a tough one. Kammy’s got 50 HP, 5 ATK, and 0 DEF, so basically, a souped-up Magikoopa that has access to basically all of their magic at the same time. Yeah, she’s a real pain.

Okay, so the big problem to solve here is dealing significant damage to Bowser because 2 DEF goes a long way in reducing damage. To take out both on Turn 3, we’re gonna need some damage. The classic Double Dipping Point Swap will work well, and let’s abuse Return Postage and Double Pain to get Mario into Peril, so we’ll Point Swap our partner. We could use Yoshi, but he needs more ATK to achieve the same damage Goombella can and there’s no way Stampede is taking out both of them unless we invest into way more BP, so let’s use Goombella. Because we’re Point Swapping Goombella, let’s have her take on Bowser since we can include a Power Punch in that Double Dip for a free +2 to ATK. With the above badges, Goombella’s base is 3 – the 2 DEF = 1 + 9 from Mega Rush & two Power Rushes, 1 from P-Up D-Down P, and the +2 from Power Punch gives a whopping 13 ATK. Nice. Mario’s got it a little easier since he’s dealing with Kammy. He’s at 3 + 2 from Jumpman and P-Up D-Down, and 7 from Mega Rush + Power Rush. That gives him 12 ATK total. Alright, we’ve got the damage we need to take on both. let’s get into the fight!

NOTE: We’re assuming you’ve just leveled up off of Grodus, which is why we’re starting with max HP & FP.
 
Turn 1 is setup. To understand why I’m using Veil, let’s look at Bowser’s AI. Bowser has 3 attacks: Fire Breath, Bite, and Stomp. He will use those three attacks in order as long as he suffers no recoil damage. Fire Breath is a ranged move, making it impossible for him to take recoil, and he always uses it Turn 1. Turn 2 he’ll be using Bite, which is a move that, luckily, is affected by Return Postage! So, Turn 1 we prep Goombella with Double Dip, and swap her out for Vivian and use Veil. We’re now at 4 FP because Veil is 1 FP.

Turn 2, we come out of Veil. The way Veil works is that Mario loses his next turn. So, if you use Veil Turn 1 without moving Mario, Mario can move Turn 2, but Vivian cannot. If Mario moves Turn 1 and then Vivian uses Veil, Mario & Vivian can’t move Turn 2. Because of this, there’s literally nothing we can do Turn 2 except take Bowser & Kammy’s attacks. Now, I want to be clear on something — this strategy can be foiled if Kammy…

  • Makes herself or Bowser invisible
  • Electrifies Bowser or herself
  • Buffs her or Bowser’s DEF
She does have a chance of using any of those things on Turn 2. She can also buff her or Bowser’s ATK, but because Bowser goes first, this is of no concern to us. If she does use any of what is listed above, you’ll simply need to reset. Given how many strategies I’ve created thus far that crush Grodus into the ground, it shouldn’t be hard getting back to this point. In fact, this badge setup deals with Grodus quite well — it’d be an easy 1-2 Turn fight as long as you bring an extra Point Swap and a Fire Flower to that fight. Anyway, enough about Grodus, let’s get back to this fight; Bowser will always Bite Turn 2 due to how his AI works. So, he’ll Bite Mario and we guard it since we’re taking 8 damage right now with P-Up D-Down equipped. Guarding brings it down to 7, which is doubled to 14, bringing Mario down to Peril. Bowser takes 7 damage from Return Postage because Return Postage comes after Double Pain is applied to the damage. It’s a nice perk of the badge. Now, Kammy either buffs ATK or attacks. If she attacks Vivian, it’s whatever, but if she attacks Mario, we need to superguard. I always love having some superguarding in strategies, so this is welcome.

Turn 3, we go in for the kill. Mario Power Bounces Kammy for an exact 50 damage with 5 bounces (12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8). We’re now at 1 FP because Power Bounce is 3 FP and we’ve had 4 since Turn 1’s Veil. We swap to Goombella, and Multibonk 6 times. Bowser has 70 HP, but after Return Postage he’s at 63, and Multibonk right now does a perfect 63 damage (13 + 12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8). With two Flower Saver P badges, Multibonk is 1 FP. Both are KO’d Turn 3. Perfect damage, perfect FP use, and with Return Postage! Does it get any better than this? Yes, but is it flashier? Absolutely not!

I want to point out that a different strategy with Mario locking Bowser into Bite with Return Postage (because he’ll always take recoil, and thus never move onto Stomp) is also a really cool way to utilize Return Postage, but you could also just use Zap Tap. At the end of the day, Return Postage is just a terrible badge when it comes to normal combat, but it’s really, really fun to use, and that’s something I actually really appreciate about the badge. If you’d like to see more Return Postage use, check out my Return to Sender run on YouTube, where I played through the game casually with Return Postage after beating 10 HP No Mega Rush P Pre-Hooktail Pit. It’s a good time.

I’ll be taking suggestions again for the next one, so be on the lookout for that Tweet/Post!

Just Sayin’
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REVIEW: Mario Party Island Tour

I apologize for this being late, I was busy Friday and Saturday. Onto the review!

——

I haven’t really played any of the recent Mario Party games. Mario Party DS I played a bit, but not too much. The newest installment into the series, Mario Party Island Tour, however, is shaping up to be a Mario Party I will play quite often.

Mario Party Island Tour, like Mario Party 9, completely offs the classic gather stars and circle a game board. Instead, they’re replaced with “race” boards, as I call them, where the first player to reach the finish line wins. However, unlike Mario party 9, where everyone rides that dumb vehicle together, it hearkens back to the classic style of moving, where everyone takes their own turn and uses dice…or cards on certain boards. Because of this style, there are no blue and red spaces that give out coins, instead having item spaces, move back spaces, and other various spaces that switch places with opponents, summon Bowser, etc… It’s actually pretty refreshing, and I find myself not missing the old style because, really, I can play the old ones on the virtual console.

So that’s all great, but what really makes this game awesome are the mini games, which are surprisingly great. I didn’t think the mini-games would be spectacular, but they’ve all been really fun and I haven’t been disappointed by one yet, and I’ve played through almost every board.

That’s really it. The music has some cool throwbacks to old games, and the graphics are pretty good (the Mario Galaxy board is awesome!), but there’s really nothing else to write about.

If you’re looking for a Mario Party experience not quite the classics, but refreshing and new with some awesome mini games, consider picking up Mario Party Island Tour. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Final Score: 7/10

Just Sayin’.

REVIEW: Mario & Luigi Dream Team

Finally, after weeks of not being able to, I have been able to play through a significant chunk of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, possibly one of the best Mario RPG‘s I’ve played so far. Let’s not waste any time and jump on in!

Plot:

Mario and company travel to Pi’llo Island to vacation and, of course, something goes wrong. Antasma, a villain hellbent on taking over the world, kidnaps Peach and forces Mario to venture into the Dream World via Luigi once Luigi opens the Dream World accidentally and frees Antasma from his dreamy prison. Dreambert, the prince of an ancient race called the Pi’llos, asks of the help of the Mario Bros. to save his people and stop Antasma, to which they agree. I won’t spoil anything (because, well, I haven’t finished the game yet. I’m close!), but Bowser does get involved, and some of the stuff gets crazy!

But, a typical Mario plot. Nothing to be laugh at, though, as the Pi’llo history is actually quite complex, and the plot is pulled off in dreamlike (ha!) style.

Characters:

So, let me get this out of the way: I never played Bowser’s Inside Story. I will, I swear, but I haven’t yet. So I didn’t know who Starlow was when she was introduced here. However, she’s a little nagging. She’s not an awful character, but I’m definitely not a big fan. The new characters are great, especially since Dreambert is very serious and has to interact with the goofy world of the Mario & Luigi series. It’s very funny.

Mario and Luigi themselves are great, as usual, and the random characters the bros. encounter are fantastic. The dialogue in Mario RPG’s have always been fantastic, and this game is no exception. The dialogue is crisp and witty, and I found myself laughing on more than one occasion!

Also oh MY GOD POPPLE IS IN THIS GAME IT IS INCREDIBLY HYPE!

Gameplay:

The gameplay is the BIG seller, here. In the over world, you are either in the real world as the Mario Bros., or in the dream world with Mario and Dreamy Luigi, a version of Luigi conjured up by Luigi as he sleeps. This Luigi is more Mario-like thanks to the dream embodying Luigi as Luigi wants himself to be. In the dream world, Luigi can also manipulate his dreams through Dreamy Luigi, able to conjure up hundreds of himself to perform certain actions and movements (such as stacking to make a tower of Luigis or like a top to spin into the air). But that’s not even close to the best part.

The combat is where it’s at for this game. In the over world, you battle with Mario and Luigi in classic Mario & Luigi style. Again, the battle animations and timing for the hammer are from Bowser’s Inside Story, and so they looked really cool to me. The badge system is also from there, and while it’s cool, I wish it was more like the original. A small complaint, however, completely negligible once you get to dream world combat.

In the dream world, Mario fights by himself against a small army of enemies with Dreamy Luigi powering him up. That means when Mario jumps, he has the power of at least 20 Luigis added on. Those same Luigis rain down on your enemies after you jump, or the Luigis create a giant shockwave with their hammers after you hammer the ground. It’s a really cool way to show that Luigi is still part of the battle.

And, just as there are Bros. Attacks in the real world with Mario and Luigi (which are awesome), there’s what’s called Luiginary Attacks, which are literally Luigi being a god. He stacks, he creates a giant hammer, he becomes a living Katamari Damacy and then has Mario kick him. The possibilities are endless, and fitting for a game that represents the Year of Luigi. His attacks are ridiculously cool.

AND, to add onto that, it’s harder in the dream world because if Mario dies, it’s game over. Goodbye builds of Mario being the powerhouse and Luigi being the tank; in the dream world, Mario gets bopped because of his low defenses, so you’re punished extra hard for being hit. On the flip side, Dreamy Luigi gives him more HP and BP, but it’s usually not enough.

To put it in perspective, I’m running Super Crit Bros. (where I only upgrade Stache), and my Mario takes roughly 35-50 damage from the small army enemies, and that small army attacks multiple times in one turn. I’ve gotten multiple game overs from regular dream world fights.

I’m not knocking that difficulty, though. I love it.

Oh, OH, and before I forget, Luigi bodies giant enemies by turning into a giant Luigi. They feel epic. I felt epic bodying them. Everything about giant Luigi is epic.

Atmosphere:

In classic Mario & Luigi style, the atmosphere is RPG-like, yet super-goofy. The dialogue, as I said before, is on point and very funny. There are a lot of reference Easter Eggs. The areas are nicely designed, the 3D is cool (especially during some Bros. Attacks), and the art style is cool. I really like the Dream World designs, especially the longer ones. Most of them are just short mini-levels, though even those are well-designed and not cumbersome.

What I really liked here was the music. Most of the music is great, especially the battle music, and ESPECIALLY boss music. I first heard the music when facing Bowser and Antasma in the beginning of the game, and it felt way more epic than it should’ve because of the music that was playing. Seriously, go to YouTube and give it a listen – it’s great.

Other than that, this is good, but nothing spectacular.

——

If you love Mario RPGs, get this game. If you love the Mario & Luigi series, get this game. If you have a 3DS get this game.

In short: GET THIS GAME.

Score:

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 10/10
Gameplay: 10/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Final Score: 9/10

Just sayin’

REVIEW – Paper Mario: Sticker Star

I’ve been waiting patiently for the moment I could finally write this review. Ever since I first heard about the new Paper Mario game for the 3DS, I was excited. And so, when I finally got my hands on the game the day it came out, I had a lot of hype and expectations riding on it. Did it deliver?

You bet it did!

Plot:

The plot is very standard Mario fare. It’s the Sticker Festival in Decalburg, a part of the Mushroom Kingdom, and during it, Princess Peach is taken by Bowser (again), and it’s up to Mario to save her! There’s really nothing more to say here. It moves the game forward, and that’s what matters.

Characters:

Oh boy. The characters. Besides the ever-amazing Mario, we have Kersti, a sassy sticker from the Sticker Star that joins Mario on his quest, and she is amazing. She calls Kamek a hipster, which not only shows that the people at Intelligent Systems is keeping with current trends, but actively incorporating them.

All the little characters in the game that make an appearance are also great. You can see the time put into every character and their line of dialogue. It’s awesome that, throughout the Paper Mario series, the humor has been consistently enjoyable for me, and that the humor in Paper Mario: Sticker Star holds up wonderfully.

And let’s not forget about the PETEY PIRAHNA cameo (despite him being an incredibly easy boss).

I think the only downside to the characters is that Bowser does not talk. Ever. It’s a little disappointing, but the humor throughout the game with the rest of the cast more than makes up for it.

Atmosphere (Music/Graphics):

The graphics are an awesome twist on the usual Paper Mario style. It looks very similar to Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, but takes the ‘paper’ aspect a step further. Koopa Troopas fold into their shells to attack, enemies can stack on each other, goombas turn into a paper cone, etc… It’s very paper, and that makes it very awesome! One of the bosses is literally made out of paper, and there are references to being in a paper world all the time. There are a ton of references to older games in characters/the world you explore (I’m not going to give an away).

The music is also great. Many of the songs reference old games, but the new music is also great. The battle music, from normal battles to the final boss, are all very memorable. I still hum the battle music in my head sometimes.

Gameplay:

And here it is! Taking a page from the old Paper Mario games, turn-based battles are back. The difference? No partners, no badges, no experience. Just stickers.

It works like this: as you explore, you’ll see stickers laying around, and you can peel them off store them in a sticker album you have. You can then use these stickers to do battle with enemies. Right away, you can see that management of stickers is key. If you’re not prepared for anything, you may find yourself losing to a spiky goomba because you don’t have any iron jump or hammer stickers and you’ll have to run.

The stickers themselves are pretty standard – you have a jump, hammer, fire flower, mushroom, and various others that are references to games in the past and some items used in the Paper Mario series.

Like in the old games, Action Commands are here, and believe me when I say that anyone who has played the old games will probably be successful figuring these out.

So, you have all these stickers, but there’s more to them than just battling. You can also use them to change the environment and solve puzzles. To do that, Kersti allows you to “paperize” objects in the world. Many puzzles involve you peeling off a part of the world and putting it back where it belongs, while others are sticking certain stickers to unlock a door.

What’s more, there are ‘things’: 3D objects (like scissors, a fan, etc…) that you can collect and turn into stickers to solve puzzles and use in battle. These stickers are HUGE, so you can’t carry too many of them or else you won’t have enough stickers after a few battles. But, these stickers are incredibly powerful in battle, and many of the bosses are specifically wear to a certain thing sticker.

And the biggest part of battling is how you attack. Some stickers attack every enemy. Some only attack one. When there’s more than one enemy, you will always attack the enemy in front. That means that you have to carefully plan out which stickers you’ll be using so you don’t waste any. You can also use the Battle Spinner, which, if you match up two or three, allows you to use 2 or 3 stickers in one turn. Of course, you’ll notice that your first sticker will attack the enemy in front, the 2nd in back, and so on. Planning out stickers is very important, especially in the later levels when enemies do a ton of damage, even when you block.

So, since there’s no experience, the only way to grow stronger is to get better stickers. You start out with normal stickers, but soon you’re able to obtain shiny and flashy stickers, which are much more powerful. You also will collect HP-Up Hearts, which increase your HP by 5.

——

Paper Mario: Sticker Star is a throwback to the old games that everyone loves with some new twists and a really, really awesome combat system. If you’re a fan of the Paper Mario franchise, you must buy this game – you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re not, I think you’d be hard-pressed to really dislike this game.

Score:

Plot: 6/10

Characters: 10/10

Atmosphere: 10/10

Gameplay: 10/10

Final Score: 9/10

Just sayin’