Review: Emior Anti-Aging products

So, I received the 4-step Emior Anti-aging bundle in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t expect to end up with the whole bundle, which was a nice surprise.  I have had the opportunity to test out these products and let you know what I think free of charge in exchange for writing an honest review.  All of the opinions stated in this post are mine and mine alone.  I was not asked, nor compensated for posting a positive review of said products.  Mommy and Ninja strives to share our honest opinions with our readers.

I do not typically like to put a lot of stuff on my face–creams, gels, lotions…none of it.  My dry skin pretty much covers 99.9% of the rest of my body, but not my face.  As such, I did not use the cleanser, exfoliator or the serum on my face.  I used all 3 products on the back of my hand, my elbow and my leg.  Yes, only one hand, elbow and leg…so that I could compare the results to my untreated hand/elbow/leg.  The eye cream, obviously had to be used around my eyes.  We’ll start there.

Emior Eye Cream

So what does Emior say makes this eye cream different from all the others?  Emior says that they have combined the power of Jojoba Esters with Phoenix Dactylifera (Date) Seed Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Poria Cocos Extract, and Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract (Source:  Emior website).  The idea is to stimulate collagen production and boosts antioxidants to prevent the appearance of aging.

As stated, I do not like these types of things on my face.  The eye cream was no exception; I hated it.  Not the cream itself, but the cream being on my face.  I don’t really need an eye cream, so I don’t feel that I can give an honest opinion on the Emior Eye Cream.  I can say that my skin did not have any adverse reaction to the eye cream.  This is the only thing in the bundle that I could not actually smell (more on that in a moment).

Emior Gel Cleanser

We’ll move to step-1 in the 4-step Emior Anti-aging bundle now.  Why is Emior better than other cleansers?  Well, I prefer the gel to a cream, so that was a bonus.  Emior says is formulated to not only lift away the impurities from on your skin but also protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier and restore its glow (Source:  Emior website).  The ingredients include  Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Pyrus Malus (Apple) fruit extracts and Glycerin.  I honestly have no idea what Aloe barbadensis leaf juice is, but I really don’t know what triacylglycerol is and yet I continue to eat foods with crazy stuff like that on the ingredient list…  Emior also claims that their gel cleanser help fight acne and minimizes break outs.

After washing with the Emior Gel Cleanser, my skin was indeed softer than it was after using (insert any brand of soap here).  I’m not picky about the soap I wash my hands with, whatever is there is what I use.  It’s usually something fruity and sometimes claims to be “moisturizing” formula…it doesn’t really matter to me.  This gel cleanser doesn’t smell bad, but it doesn’t smell good either.  It smells…neutral?  I know, I know, smell is not as important as function and living up to the company’s claims, but I thought I would mention that (more on this topic in a moment, wait for it).

Emior Fruit Exfoliator

Step-2 takes us to the Emior Fruit Exfoliator.  What makes this one different?  Well, Emior uses some natural ingredients to remove dead skin and nourish the living skin.  Ingredients include:  Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Barley Extract, Sun flower seed oil, Pumkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Grapefruit peel oil, Sandalwood extract, and Radish Root Ferment Filtrate.

After typing all of that, I now realize why it smells so awful.  And I mean awful.  Fruit exfoliator?  I thought it would have a nice fruity smell, but it does not.  The ninja went so far as to say it smells like butt.  It’s not quite that bad, but it’s bad.

Bad smell doesn’t mean it doesn’t exfoliate.  The cream does quite a nice job of getting rid of the that layer of dry, dead skin.  It got so much gross, dead skin off of me that I had to take a damp wash cloth to my leg after using the cream to wipe it all away.  This product does exactly what it said it would do.

Emior Fruit Exfoliator
Emior Fruit Exfoliator

Emior Anti-Aging Serum

Step-3, here we come.  The Emior Anti-Aging Serum “the power of snow algae” to eliminate signs of aging.  I’ve never heard of snow algae, but we’ve already gone over that…does it matter if it works?

Does it work, though?  My skin was softer and healthier-looking after using the cleanser, exfoliator and the serum.

Final Thoughts

Emior is quite pricey if you purchase through their website.  If you purchase each item individually (which would be unwise) through their website, it would cost $233.99; they offer a bundle of all 4 products at $189, a savings of $44.99.  ***Prices are accurate at the time of publication and may no longer be accurate***  They offer free shipping and a 30-day money back guarantee.

If you were to shop around, you could find much better prices at the time of this writing on Amazon.  As of right now, all 4 would cost you $51.96 (plus any applicable tax and possibly shipping).

Would I purchase the 4-step Emior Anti-aging bundle?  Not so much, but the fruit exfoliator is really nice once you get used to the odor.  The products certainly appear to do what they claim to do.

Emior Anti-aging Bundle
Emior Anti-aging Bundle
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Review: Monopoly Gamer Edition

We’ll be taking a look at Monopoly Gamer Edition (<–Affiliate link) today.  This was a Christmas gift from the ninja and we’ve finally had some time to sit and try it out.  We have the game and 4 additional game tokens.  Let’s jump right in with some Monopoly history.

A Little About Monopoly

Monopoly has long been present in American households.  The first Monopoly game is from 1935 by Parker Brothers, though it is based on a game self-published in 1906 called The Landlord’s Game.  Monopoly is now licensed in more than 100 countries and published in 37 different languages.  That’s impressive, no matter how you feel about the game…that’s impressive.

There are more licensed Monopoly editions than I care to count.  They have sports team-themed, major city-themed, movie and television-themed, video game-themed and all kinds of other editions.  They have everything from Chicago Cubs Monopoly to The Simpsons Monopoly to Boy Scouts of America editions.  The range of available themes throughout the years is wide.  Not all of these are available to purchase at the store today, many of them are only available second-hand at this point as they are no longer being manufactured.

Over the years (and generations), Monopoly is no longer the go-to board game in many households for several reasons, the biggest of which being the time to play.  Hasbro has been trying for many years to keep the game of Monopoly fresh and current.

What Makes Gamer Edition Different?

Where to begin…  Gamer Edition takes Monopoly and twists it into something similar but different at the same time.  The rules have been modified to play more like a competitive video game rather than the classic Monopoly game.  The best thing about Gamer Edition is the time it takes to play the game.  Classic Monopoly can take anywhere from an hour to 3 or 4 hours and by the end of the game, oftentimes you end up hating each other’s guts.  Monopoly Gamer Edition is designed to end relatively quickly.  There are 8 bosses that you must defeat (or let escape).  The boss battles happen when a person passes go.  Do the math on that…if there are 4 players, that could be a pretty short game.

The game feels more rewarding than Classic Monopoly.  Gamer Edition, being as short as it is, makes your accomplishments mean something.  It’s not about crushing your opponents and making them go bankrupt.  It’s about defeating the bosses, collecting properties and hoarding as many coins as you can your grubby little mitts on.

Other changes include (obviously) new Mario-themed characters each with special abilities, no chance/community chest cards, no houses/hotels, Mario themed coins (1’s and 5’s) instead of paper money and having one of the number dice replaced with a power-up die.

Choosing a Character

Choosing your character is no easy task like in Classic Monopoly.  Gamer Edition has added special abilities unique to each character that should be considered when choosing a character.  We did not consider this, we simply chose the character that we liked.  Not knowing their abilities gave us an even playing field, nobody chose and advantageous character over a weak one.  Abilities are not game-breaking by any stretch, but they are a nice addition and create more varied game-play as you have different combinations of characters.  Naturally, certain characters prove stronger than others as they can’t all have equal abilities simply because of the nature of the game…you can only do so much to vary the abilities.  Included in the game are Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Mario.

Power Packs

Speaking of choosing a character, there are 8 power packs available.  They are not blinds, which is nice.  They come in a bag, similar to the blind toy bags you can get for about every IP ever created, but you can visibly see which character you are getting.  These power packs fit the theme perfectly as they remind me of DLC available for video games.  Each pack comes with a new character token, a character card and a sticker.  The characters available in these packs include:  Luigi, Wario, Diddy Kong, Toad, Rosalina, Fire Mario, Tanooki Mario and Boo.  The prices vary wildly online, but can be purchased at a bricks-and-mortar location for around 3 or 4 dollars at the time of this writing.

Gameplay

As mentioned, this play way faster than Classic Monopoly.  We finished in about a little over an hour with a 3-player game and keep in mind that one of those players is 6.  The game is fast-paced and you must pay attention even when it is not your turn.  Learning to sweet-talk other players into hitting someone else with something bad from the item die is essential to your long-term savings.

The rules are very different and, to be honest, more complicated than any other Monopoly I’ve played.  They were a little complicated for the ninja at first, but with some extra patience we were able to get him through the game without issue.  A child slightly older than him would have no problems understanding what was going on.  Beyond that, the game lasted a little too long to hold his attention.  He has the attention span of dead gnat, so that’s not really knocking the game…I’m just saying.

The boss battles are easy to figure out and reward you with a nice chunk of points as well as a bonus reward for beating him (or her).

What did we think?

Gamer Edition has an opportunity to bring Monopoly back into the lives of a new generation.  How well do we think it did?

Mommy:  This is a fun and refreshing change to the standard Monopoly formula.  The additions were all done very well.  It still felt like a Monopoly game, but it was different enough to make it well worth the money.  The pieces are high-quality plastic instead of metal, but they’re around 4 bucks for an additional character…we can’t expect the nice old metal pieces at this point.  I wish the coins, of which there are far too few of the single coins, were plastic rather than cardboard.  Plastic would last much longer, but overall this game was worth the price of admission.

Ninja:  Two thumbs up.  He said it was shorter he would “give it 10 thumbs up!”  It really was just a tad too long for his attention span.  He seemed to really enjoy stealing coins from us.  And he won the game, so that made him happy.

What We Like-Mario theme
-Power packs that add characters
-Fast-paced
-Easy to learn and play
-Fun gameplay
What We Don't Like-Not enough coins
Replay ValueHigh -- This is partially due to the nature of the characters abilities and the possible combinations
Recommended AgeHasbro: 8+
Mommy and Ninja: 6+
Final GradeB+
Final ThoughtsPerfect for any Mario fan or a board game fan looking for a new take on a old game.

Have you played Monopoly Gamer Edition?  Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear your opinions.

***Disclosure:  The opinions stated here are the honest opinions of Mommy and Ninja.  We purchased this product at full retail price and were not compensated for this review in any way nor asked to give a positive review.***

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Turmoil (PC)

Turmoil Start Screen
Turmoil Start Screen

In my days playing tycoon/management type games, I must admit that I’ve never been a rags-to-riches oil tycoon.  I’ve been a lemonade stand tycoon, a roller coaster tycoon, a zoo building tycoon, a drug tycoon and many more than I care to list.  Turmoil is definitely the first time I’ve been an oil tycoon.  This game was purchased as part of a Humble Bundle (More details about the current Humble Bundle can be found here.), Best of 2017 which is available until February 20th, 2018.

Turmoil Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Available PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, iPad
Available FormatsDigital
Platform Reviewed onWindows (Steam)
GenreSimulation
DeveloperGamious
PublisherGamious
Release Date(s)June 2, 2016

Parent’s Information

Steam doesn’t require ESRB ratings to sell games, so this section won’t show you the ESRB or the PEGI ratings for the game.  So, I’ll have to rate it myself.

There’s nothing at all inappropriate here.  Unless the fact that there is a saloon in the game (at which no actual drinking occurs) is offensive to you, this is one of the least offensive games I’ve played in a long time.  Would I let the ninja play it?  Sure.  Can he play it?  He’s 6, so management games aren’t really his bag.  You don’t technically have to be able to read, but it would be helpful if playing campaign just so you know what people are saying to you.

There is no sexual content or nudity, no foul language, no drug/alcohol references (other than the presence of the saloon).  It’s pretty non-offensive.

Is it good?

That’s what everybody wants to know, isn’t it?  Well, it’s not bad.  Turmoil isn’t going to win and Game Of The Year awards (or rather didn’t), but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing.  There is something to be said for a game in the management/simulation genre that gives you a new experience…even if it is only in the subject matter.  Overall, the game offers the same basic fare as any other genre game.  A couple of buildings, a slew of upgrades…nothing too extraordinary here.  The simplicity is the beauty of this game.  It’s intended as a casual game and what you see is what you get.

Gameplay

It’s a management game.  It’s easy to understand and easy to play.  The buildings are self explanatory (oil rig, oil silo…easy) and the upgrades are easy to figure out just reading the title.  The game has two modes:  Campaign and Sandbox.  Campaign guides you through a competition between you and your 3 AI-controlled rivals.  Competition is a bit of a stretch of the word, but you do bid on land against them.  Mostly, the AI is dense when it comes to bidding.  They will have a bidding war with 16 pieces of land still left unused and drive their prices up for no reason.  It’s an interesting aspect.  During the campaign, you spend your money on upgrades between the levels and then bid on another piece of land.  The levels are not challenging and overall, the campaign is not particularly challenging either.

Turmoil is beautiful in it’s simplicity, but that’s a downfall as well.  The gameplay is too simplistic.  One campaign will be just like the others.  There will be no real risk of losing.

Shady deal offer at the saloon
Shady deal offer at the saloon

Graphics and Music

As mentioned, this is a management game.  Those of us who regularly play these games aren’t in it for top-notch graphics and you won’t get that here.  Nonetheless, Turmoil is visually appealing especially in this genre.  I love the art style here.  That said, the graphics won’t be pushing the limits of your graphics card (unless you’re running something akin to an old Commodore 64).  The user interface is clear, concise and, more importantly, easy to see and read.  It is not cluttered with nonsense.

The music is catchy.  I caught myself more than once dancing with the music as I played.

Replay Value

In a management game, this is important.  Am I going to come back and play it again or am I going to blow my money on a few hours of fun and delete it?  This is one of those games that is too casual.  I won’t delete it, but it won’t be at the top of my list to play again.  Turmoil would be a good game to play while you’re doing something else, like waiting on hold with tech support on the phone or listening to an audio file.  This is a game that I would play while I was “watching” one of the Ninjas shows on Netflix with him.  You know, I watch the show with my back eyes and play with my normal eyes…  Replay value here is medium at best.

Overall Mommy and Ninja RatingB
Overall Gameplay4/5
Story/Plot3/5
Sound, Dialogue/Voice Acting4/5
Graphics4/5
Controls5/5
Pros-Unique
-Procedurally generated Sandbox levels
-Simple
-Easy to understand/play
Cons-Not particularly interesting
-Too Simple
Bottom LineNot a bad game. Pick it up on sale.

Final Thoughts

At it’s regular price (currently $9.99 on Steam), I would not say this is a good purchase except for the biggest fans of the genre.  As part of a Humble Bundle or at a 50% or better discount, this is worth picking up for someone who casually enjoys casual sims.  I’m not disappointed, but I would have been upset if I’d paid full price.  It’s a decent time-waster.

Review - Turmoil (PC)
Review – Turmoil (PC)
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Review: Humble Monthly Subscription

Today, we’re going to take a look at something that the ninja and I just found out about a couple of months ago.  The Humble Monthly Subscription.  We’ve already been taking advantage of our Humble Monthly offerings.  Humble Monthly comes from the company that gives us the Humble Bundle.

What is Humble Monthly?

Have you ever heard of Loot Crate?  Nerd Block?  [Insert the name of ANY subscription box here]?  That’s what Humble Monthly is.  Sort of.  It’s essentially like all of the subscription boxes available, but for PC games.  Each month you are subscribed, you will receive about 8-10 games for a set price.  I say about 8-10 because it does vary from month-to-month.  All of the bundles that have been released so far have an MSRP of over $100.

That number sounds a little better than it truly is, but it’s still an awesome deal.  The numbers they use are the regular price of the game.  Anyone familiar with Steam (or Humble Bundle) will know that they can get some kick-butt deals on a large variety of games.  Still a rocking deal, though.  Plus, some of the proceeds from Humble Monthly goes to charity.  You’re getting a great deal and helping a charity.  Does it get any better?

Humble Monthly February 2018
Humble Monthly February 2018

How much does it cost?

Over $100 dollars in games each month?!?  It must be expensive, right?  Honestly, that’s what I thought when I saw a list of the games from one of the bundles a few months ago.  Upon investigation, the price is actually quite reasonable.  Only $12 per month.  So, for a measly $12 you get 8-10 games?  Yes.  There were 8 games month, so each game cost only $1.50 which is a steal.

There are currently 4 subscription options:  Monthly ($12/mo); 3-Months ($11.67/mo); 6-Months ($11.17/mo) and 12-Months ($11/mo).  With the 12-Month Subscription, you basically get 1 month free.  All subscriptions are recurring, but can be canceled at any time during the subscription period to avoid the recurring charge.  There is also an option to gift a monthly subscription to a friend.  You can choose to pay with a credit card or PayPal.

What do parents need to know?

Parents, are you kids asking you for the Humble Monthly subscription?  Or maybe your kids are gamers and this is something you think they would like.  If they’re PC gamers, they probably would like this.  Do note that not all games are child-appropriate.  There are M-Rated games included in some of the monthly bundles and there is no way to tell what’s in it beforehand.  If this is a problem, you should check out the Humble Bundles offered instead, which are usually really great limited-time deals.

What types of games are included?

All of them.  If it’s a type of game, it’s included.  Seriously.  They’ve had AAA titles; they’ve had indies.  There have been action, simulation, survival, puzzle, sports and strategy games.  Any kind of game you can imagine.  The Long Dark (our PS4 review here) was in January 2018’s monthly bundle; I was upset that I missed that one.  March’s early unlock game is Dark Souls III and the Ashes of Ariandel™ DLC.  Past games have included NBA 2k17, Tomb Raider, Life Is Strange, Civilization VI, Resident Evil 5, Elder Scrolls Online and Quake Champions and that’s just going back 6 or 7 months.

What platforms are available?

The only guarantee is that all games will be available on Steam.  Beyond that, they make no promises.  Some games are also available on macOS and Linux.

What else do I get?

Dang!  8 games for $12 isn’t enough for you?  Well, Humble Bundle has you covered.  Not only do you get the games each month, but you also receive 10% off games in the Humble Store.  Still not enough?  You also get access to The Humble Trove.  The Trove contains Humble Originals and more.  You can download as many of The Trove games as you would like.  They are all DRM-Free games available to download for anyone with an active subscription.  As of 8 February 2018 there are 46 games in The Trove.  Some of the games were in previous bundles, but if you weren’t a subscriber at that point…that’s 40+ more games you just got access to.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe before the bundle details are announced.  They tell you what the early unlock game is, but not the remaining games in the bundle.  That’s it.  There’s no other catch.  And what’s better is that when you cancel your subscription, you keep the games.  All of them.  Forever.  Unlike a PlayStation+ or XboxLive Gold subscription, where you lose access to any free games, you keep these even without an active subscription.

Is it worth it?

Your mileage will vary, but $12 is a steal for these bundles.  Dark Souls III, for example is still $59.99 and the aforementioned DLC is $14.99 as of today on Steam.  If you were thinking of getting Dark Souls III, now is the time to buy Humble Monthly!  You can’t beat that deal.  If you weren’t, but might like it…still worth the subscription price.  If Dark Souls III doesn’t interest you in the least, maybe wait until next month…or take the gamble and do it anyways!

Where do I sign up?

Well, there is a limited-time offer that could earn you (and me) an $8 credit to use in the Humble Store if you click this referral link and subscribe.  Simple as that.  If that wasn’t enough to get you to sign up, there is a discount for first-time subscribers, making the cost $10.80 for your first month.  Clicking that link will make your first month essentially cost you $2.80.

Humble Monthly Review
Humble Monthly Review
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First Foam Fabrication Build

Your first foam fabrication is not easy, let me tell you!  Perhaps it’s because I’m just not a crafty kind of person, but I’m struggling a little bit.  I’ve been working on a keyblade for William for a few days now.  I’m at the point where cutting the key part of the blade and the hilt is what’s next.  I cut the key out of 4mm foam, but I’m just not satisfied with the result.  So, I decided to practice a little bit by doing a different, easier project.  Batman gauntlets.  ***This is in no way a tutorial.  This is just our first experience.***

Getting Started in Cosplay

Getting started isn’t hard, but getting started right can be expensive.  William’s first cosplay was all stuff that we already owned.  He cosplayed at 2017 Wizard World Chicago for FREE.  That was nice, if short-lived.  My cousin, who is 13, and I decided that when we go this year, we’d like to cosplay.  Now, I don’t know if I’ll cosplay this year as I’m still learning, but I’m confident that we can get something ready for her and William.

There are so many different ways to get started.  There’s foam fabrication, worbla, sewing, pepakura, just to name a few.  And that’s just for the actual costume.  Props can be made of any number of materials.  I did a ton of research online and decided that for what we wanted to do, foam fabrication would be a good start.  If I knew how to use a sewing machine I might have started there, but I don’t.  I was going to have to learn from scratch anyways, might as well go with foam.

Safety first!

Please remember that your safety and the safety of the others in your home should not be ignored.  Some of the products that you may be working with can be quite dangerous.  Several of the items mentioned in this post suggest that you work in a well ventilated area as they can be dangerous and some of them are highly flammable.  Now, this should go without saying, but…it needs to be said.  Read the directions on the bottle/carton/package to ensure that you are using these products in a safe way.  Also, I’m just going to put this out there:  I highly recommend not ingesting anything that you may be working with.

Cosplay - William wearing respirator
William found the respirator…

Some of the tutorials that I read before starting suggested using a respirator when sanding foam, using the adhesives, Plastidip-ing and spray painting.  Your health is worth the 30 or so dollars a respirator will cost you.  Keep in mind, though, that your family members and pets will not be wearing one.  I work in our garage so as not to kill the cat (or the ninja).  When it’s not freezing cold outside, I open the door for ventilation purposes but I still wear the respirator.  I really don’t want to die out there Plastidip-ing a gauntlet.  If you do go for a respirator, make sure that it fits your face well.  Cover the breathing holes on the cartridges and try to breathe to ensure that you have a good seal around your mouth.  If you don’t have a good seal, you might as well not be wearing it.

If we’re being honest, I think the respirator is overkill, but I’m not in a well-ventilated area most of the time.  Better safe than sorry.

Foam Fabrication

To begin in foam fabrication, I determined that I would need a handful of tools as well as some supplies.  Foam fabrication startup varies greatly from the startup supplies and tools for sewing your costume.  Just a brief overview of the tools I started with:  I needed a heat gun to, you know, heat stuff up.  Nah, I needed the heat gun for heat forming the foam.  It sounds like something complicated, but it’s super easy.  I was going to need some form of glue.  I decided a hot glue gun would be beneficial.  A rotary tool seemed super-useful.  A respirator sounded like an awesome safety device, I made sure I had one.

I needed lots of supplies as well.  For glues I added mod podge and contact cement.  Each one has it’s various preferred applications.  Plastidip sounded like a necessary thing.  Spray paints and EVA foam were a must.  A sharp cutting tool (X-Acto knife).  I would need markers to trace my patterns.  Some paintbrushes were bought to apply adhesives and wipe away extra if needed.  A self-healing mat was needed so that I could cut on my table and not ruin it.  I acquired all of these items and thought I was ready to go.

No pattern?  No problem!

I found an awesome tip somewhere online for patterning.  I wish I could remember where it came from so I could give credit to the person.  If I ever happen onto it again, I’ll edit the post.  I went looking for relatively easy patterns to start out with.  I didn’t want anything too crazy, so I found these Batman Gauntlets at The Foam Cave.  That site is loaded with good information and reasonably priced patterns.  You should check it out if you’re looking to get started in EVA foam.

So, what if you’re making something that you can’t find a pattern for?  Gauntlets would be super hard to do this trick with, but what about something like…I don’t know, a keyblade maybe?  Well, you’re in luck!  There are thousands of pictures of keyblade if you search Google.  All I had to do was find the one that I wanted, as there are several different keyblades.  Once I found it, I opened it in a new tab.

I zoomed in using Ctrl and the mouse wheel until the image was the size I needed for the keyblade shaft that I had already assembled.  I measured by placing the shaft in front of the monitor to see if it was right.  Once it was, I taped a piece of paper to my bigger monitor and just traced.  Simple as that.  It certainly helps that I use a dual-monitor setup with a 42 inch tv as my primary monitor, but you could do this on any sized monitor, with a little bit of effort.

Foam Fabrication - Missing Pattern
Missing pattern? No problem! Just trace one from your monitor!

Success or Failure?

So, was our first attempt a success or a failure?  Well, the keyblade is on hold until I get what I will need to carve the wood the way I want to carve it.  I have a large selection of different bits for the rotary tool, and I’ve tested some of them out to see if they will work for me.  I’ve decided that they just won’t do what I need them to do.  I will have to get an attachment for the rotary tool to continue work on the keyblade.

Funny story:  I was using one of the bits to attempt to cut the wood piece and it flew off of my rotary tool.  And I mean that quite literally!  It flew off of the tool and ricocheted around the room a couple of times.  I don’t know how much damage it would have done had it hit me, but I know it could have done enough damage to send me to the ER…and that was running the rotary tool at 3/4 speed.  My plan is to invest in a pair of safety goggles so that I don’t lose an eye out there.

The Batman gauntlets are all foam.  We had a failure due to my lack of experience with hot glue.  I think between the fast-drying nature of hot glue and the temperature of my workshop (cold), I just wasn’t fast enough.  Here are some pictures of our first failure.  I wish I could say our only failure, but I’m certain this is the first of many.

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This was the first one.  It could have been far worse.  It works out though, because as you can see in the pictures, the trim piece on top is actually too small.  I don’t know how it happened since I used the exact same pattern for both pieces, but either way…  This gauntlet has not been coated in Plastidip or painted.  I didn’t even glue the opening shut.  It just seemed like a waste of time and supplies.

Our first attempt was a mixed bag.  The paint is dry and they have been kid-tested and kid-approved.  One of the remaining gauntlets has this too-small-trim issue, but he didn’t even notice.  They aren’t awesome, but they are passable.  Since this was my first attempt, I’m happy with passable.

What does Ninja think?

Well, I showed him the gauntlets and he said they were “freaking awesome” and then he asked me, “What about the mask?”  I didn’t even know how to reply.  I wanted to say that I struggled with a simple gauntlet and a mask was a little more advanced than I want to try next, but you should have seen the look on his tiny little face.  I took a “mold” of his head and we agreed that the Batman cowl would be right after the keyblade.

Was I ready?

Ha!  That’s funny.  I mean, I had most of the things I would need, but there are so many other little bits and bobs that you might need it’s not even funny.  For the keyblade William wants, I needed a piece of CPVC pipe as well as a wooden dowel to strengthen the pipe.  I decided to use 6mm wood instead of the 4mm foam that I wasn’t satisfied with.  Well, switching to the wood now means that I need a new attachment for my rotary tool.

Honestly, I don’t think ready is something that I will ever say about a cosplay project.  There are any number of ways every project can be done, so you might try one way and decide that it’s just not what you want and go buy another material and try it again.

Things I wish I knew…

So, there are a few things I wish I knew before I started.  I did extensive research online, but researching how to do something and actually doing it are two totally different things.  So, there are a few things I wish I’d known before I started.

First, I wish I had bought the contact cement from the beginning.  The hot glue would not have worked as well for the connection on that gauntlet.  Second, I wish I’d made a spray booth.  There is silver paint and white Plastidip all over the garage floor, the table and a random milk crate I found in the garage.  Third, I wish I knew how quickly hot glue would dry in a super-cold garage.  Seriously, it’s like 40 degrees (F) out there…if I’m lucky.  Lastly, I wish I knew that pattern trick.  I printed a few others that just weren’t the right size so they were wasted time and foam.

Pictures of the process

For those of you that aren’t familiar with foam fabrication, here are a few pictures of what we actually did throughout the process:

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What can we do better next time?

Other than everything?  Well, with a (very) little experience under my belt, I feel like the patterning, cutting and gluing will go much better next time around.  I also discovered some bits and bobs around the house that have now been re-purposed to assist with foam fabrication.  For example, I used two Christmas ornament hooks inside my makeshift spray booth, though paperclips would work as well, and the duct tape rolls to hold those gauntlets closed while they cooled.

I’ve purchased a much larger self-healing mat, which will make cutting so much faster.  I also purchased two lamps during this build to help with the poor lighting in the garage.  These are little things, but they add up.  With each build, I’m certain that I’ll find new things that need to be improved or changed about my work space.  I strongly believe a work space that works with you is key to improving your work.  If your work space is working against you, how can you focus on improvement?  You’re too busy fighting to get things accomplished.

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$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

 $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

 


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$100 Amazon Gift Card 

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Review: The Long Dark (PS4)

Survival.  No zombies.  No jump scares.  You against Mother Nature.  Nothing more, nothing less.  That’s not to say The Long Dark won’t scare the bejeezus out of you.  You’re slowly plodding through the Canadian wilderness trying to figure out where that cabin you’ve been holing up in was, alone, cold, hungry and miserably lost, when suddenly you spot two wolves walking in front of you.  You are encumbered, injured from a fall and too tired to mount a decent escape; you have no weapon…the wolves see you!  It was nice knowing you.

The Long Dark

The Long Dark was in alpha status through Steam Early Access starting in 2014.  For non-gamer parents, that means it was still being developed, but they released it to the public to test for bugs and areas that needed improvement.  Finally, Hinterland Studios released an official version on August 1, 2017.  It’s undergone some changes along the way, including the addition of a story mode.  For those that played early on in the alpha, the core sandbox game is the same, but with improvements.

The Long Dark General Information

Mommy and Ninja Rating
Available PlatformsLinux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Available FormatsDigital
Platform Reviewed onPS4
GenreSurvival
DeveloperHinterland Studio
PublisherHinterland Studio
Release Date(s)Steam Early Access: Sept 2014
Xbox One (Alpha): June 2015
Official Release (all platforms): August 1, 2017
RatingsESRB: T
PEGI: 16
USK: 12
ACB: M

Parent’s Information

If you are a parent here looking for whether or not your child should play this game, here’s the place to look.  Not taking into account the quality of the actual game, here’s what you need to know.

Here in the US, the ESRB rated this T for Teen for the following reasons:  Violence, Blood and Language.  Click here for details.

In Europe, PEGI rated this as appropriate for 16 and older.  They stated the following:  It contains: Realistic looking violence.

In Germany, USK rated this for 12 and older only.  In Australia, the ACB rated this M, which means 15 and older for: Violence and Coarse Language.

Would I let my child play this?  Not really.  The depiction of violence in the game doesn’t really strike me as too much for him to handle, but he’s only 5.  He can’t read well, which would make this difficult game that much more difficult for him.  If William could read, I honestly wouldn’t stop him from playing it.

This is not an easy game.  If your child is easily frustrated, this may not be the game for them.  The violence and blood that they are referring to is when you attack wildlife (deer, rabbits, moose and bears) or are attacked by them.  After the kill, you can harvest their hide, guts and meat.  You do not kill other humans as you are quite literally the only survivor of the apocalypse; you do, however, find the occasional frozen corpse in the wilderness or inside of buildings.  There is no sex, simulated or implied.  There are no drug/alcohol/tobacco references.

Teen is certainly an appropriate rating here.  E10+ might even have been a good choice.  The game is about survival, not killing.  Though, your survival will eventually mean killing wolves, deer and doing some fishing.  The violence depicted is far less graphic than most offerings in the shooter genre.

***Click here to get more on what the ESRB ratings mean.***

Dialogue and Voice Acting in The Long Dark

The voice actors for sandbox survivors are Jennifer Hale and David Hayter.  Jennifer Hale’s voice may sound familiar to those who played a wide variety of games or watched cartoons since 1993.  She has a filmography that is quite long.  Her recent game industry work includes For Honor and World of Final Fantasy; her recent cartoon voice work includes Star Wars Rebels, Rick and Morty and the new DuckTales.  David Hayter will be a familiar voice for Metal Gear fans.  More recently he was the voice of the Mudokons in Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, which is kind of interesting.

They are a little irritating after the few few hours of same the same handful of phrases over and over, ad nauseum.  They are, however, well spoken lines.  The voice acting is quite good.  If I ever hear someone say “I hope nobody needs this anymore” after opening a cabinet in some random cabin in the Canadian Wilderness, I might shoot them…if I’ve found a rifle.

Controls/Overall Functionality and Gameplay

We’ll start with the not so great:  I’ve had several CTD (crash to dashboard) incidents since I started playing.  I’ve logged probably 75 or so hours up to this point.  Beyond that, I’ve seen no glitches or exploits.

As far as the controls go, once you figure out what everything does, you’re golden.  They are pretty simple.  The game has absolutely NO tutorial.  There won’t be a pop-up window telling you how to shoot your rifle (if you find one) or how to jump.  You actually cannot jump.  It took me a while to admit that there was no jump button.  I thought it was maybe a combination of buttons that I just hadn’t tried yet at first, but finally I was able to admit that you cannot jump.  I won’t tell you how to shoot the rifle because finding the right buttons is part of the adventure in The Long Dark.

When you’re first starting out this game is hard.  It’s supposed to be hard.  It gets easier as you grow accustomed to the controls and your surroundings and grow a little stockpile of supplies.  But, those supplies won’t last forever.  Hopefully you’re luckier than I am and get a rifle early on (or at all).  In my current playthrough, I have about 15 rifle rounds and no rifle.  I also have a simple arrow, but no bow.  Once you run out of scavengable supplies, which you will as they do not respawn, you will have to live off the land.  You’re going to have to kill deer, wolves, rabbits, moose and bears for their meat.  You can also fish for your food.

The harder the difficulty you choose, the harder your game will be.  That goes without saying, right?  Not really, but that’s an argument for another day.  Pilgrim difficulty is quite easy.  Wolves won’t even attack you.  It’s way too easy and actually pretty boring.  If it were me, I would start on Voyageur and work your way up to Stalker or Interloper.  Voyageur is a good difficulty to start at for those that are new to the genre or the game and still want a bit of a challenge.  I believe that one of the most beautiful things about The Long Dark, is the sense of impending doom because of lack of survival skills needed to proceed.  Voyageur will give you that.  When you stop feeling that sense of impending doom, it’s time to move onto Stalker.

Being ill and dying in The Long Dark

Becoming ill in The Long Dark is very easy, but also very avoidable.  Don’t stay outside in the cold too long.  Treat your wounds from wolf/bear/moose attacks.  Don’t eat uncooked meat.  These are all good tips to maintaining your overall health if you don’t want to freeze to death, die of infection or get food poisoning.  If you insist that you are invincible and don’t listen, you could very possibly die unless you come to your senses.

When you die in The Long Dark, it’s over.  There is no respawn.  Death is permanent, final.  You can die from a handful of things, but most are avoidable and you have ample time to get to safety and correct the situation, barring a double (or triple) wolf attack or inadvertently scaring a bear.  If you are freezing to death, you should have time to get to safety, unless Mother Nature decides she hates you.  When you die, you are shown your stats and are returned to the main menu where you will have to start a fresh game.  You could reload your last save, but in this game that almost seems scummy.

Graphics and Performance

The Long Dark doesn’t push the limits of the PS4 graphically, but I don’t think it should.  This is a “feel” game, not a “see” game…if that makes any sense.  The game is gorgeous even though it’s not graphically up to par with some of the AAA fare out there.  It’s not about the graphics (which are still more than adequate), it’s about how the game makes you feel.  Not mushy sentimentality, it makes you feel cold, it makes you feel lost in the woods.  Sometimes, games don’t have to push the limits of a graphics card to be freaking awesome.

The game’s performance has been good thus far.  I have not experienced any noticeable frame rate drops.  Aside from the CTD’s, I’ve had no issues at all.  The load times are decent.  It sometimes gets annoying when you are trying to leave the house for the day and realize there is a bear waiting for you, so you turn around and now you have another load.  This is a minor annoyance.  The game saves upon entry to an internal location, so every time you enter a building, your game will save your progress.

Final Thoughts

The Long Dark is a beautiful game that truly makes you feel like you’re wandering the Canadian wilderness after a freak geothermal event caused an apocalypse.  It’s a rewarding experience, but you will have to earn each and every one of those experiences.  And that’s a good thing.  If you’re into survival games, you have to try this game.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below and let me know what you think.  Can you survive the Canadian wilderness?

Overall Mommy and Ninja Rating 
Overall Gameplay
Story/Plot
Sound, Dialogue/Voice Acting
Graphics
Controls
Pros
Cons
Bottom line

The Long Dark Review

 

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Review: The Boss Baby (Dreamworks)

The Boss Baby

Today, we’ll be taking a look at The Boss Baby.  William found this on Netflix this week.  I have his profile set to Netflix Kids and I told him that he can watch anything he can find there.  He typically watches Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch, Skylanders Academy and a handful of strange shows he’s discovered.  Occasionally, he will go looking for something different.  What he found was The Boss Baby.  I remember seeing the trailer and thought it would be cute, but never actually went to see it.

The Boss Baby
Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

Premise of The Boss Baby

***Low/Moderate Spoiler Alert*** The Boss Baby is a universal story showing how a new baby coming home impacts a family.  The story is told by Tim, The Boss Baby’s older brother.  He is an adult now and tells us the story of  of his 7 year old having wild adventures with The Boss Baby.  He has a wild imagination and often times his narration shows us a little embellishment to the original story.  The “big bad” in the movie is puppies.  Yeah, that’s right…puppies.  Cute, adorable puppies are the villain.

The Boss Baby was sent to the Templeton house to gather intel about Puppy Co.  Puppies are getting more love than babies and Baby Corp wants to know why.  The two begin their adventure.  I won’t go into further plot details in case you want to watch the movie.

The Good Things about The Boss Baby

There are quite a few good things here.  The animation itself is beautifully done, exactly as one would expect from a studio like DreamWorks.  The attention to detail when Tim goes off into one of his crazy imagination scenes is just superb.  And the switch back to reality is not a jarring experience.

The voice acting is top notch.  Alec Baldwin voices the Boss Baby, 7-year old Tim is voiced by Miles Bakshi and adult Tim is Tobey Maguire.  All three of them are absolutely fantastic.  Steve Buscemi is the CEO of Puppy Co., Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow are Tim’s parents.  I couldn’t say anything bad about the voice work if I tried.

There are some good lessons here.  Working as a team, the boys learn, is far more efficient that trying to go alone.  In the beginning of the movie, the boss baby tries to accomplish his mission on his own.  He soon finds out that working with Tim is a far better option.  Predictable, but a lesson is a lesson.  There is enough love in a family to go around; new babies don’t mean your parents love you any less.  Excellent lesson for those older siblings struggling with this.  Tim uses his imagination constantly, which is awesome.  He actually reminds me a lot of my son, who has an imagination about as wild as Tim’s.

The Bad Things about The Boss Baby

Just because you have good things, doesn’t make it a good movie.  The biggest issue I have with The Boss Baby is the lack of actual wit and humor.  Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t chuckle or snortle a couple of times.  Yes, I just made up a word.  Deal with it.  William was downright tickled at a couple of points.  More often than not, the humor is above the heads of children and far too one-note to be more than mildly amusing for adults.

 

The premise is solid.  It’s actually based on a children’s board book by Marla Frazee unsurprisingly called The Boss Baby.  I’ve not read the book, only reviews of the book after learning that the movie was based on it.  My son is a little past the board book phase.  The movie simply didn’t take into account that what works in a 36-page board book might not work in a 97 minute movie.  The story just wasn’t good enough to keep an adult’s interest.  That’s a shame, because any parent can relate to the premise.  The baby comes home and he (or she) is the boss.  They cry, you come running.  They poop, you change them.  The baby is in charge.

Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

 

What should parents know?

 

I’m not one of those helicopter parents or a parent that thinks her child should grow up in a bubble.  William likes what he likes and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.  Now, I do stop him from watching obvious things like Nightmare on Elm Street and Family Guy.  But, he knows exactly who The Simpsons are.  Mind you, it’s not because he’s ever seen the show…he plays Lego Dimensions, which they are featured in.  He loves to watch videos of Five Nights At Freddy’s on YouTube.  He’s going to be a horror videogame fan, for sure.

All of that being said, I’ll share what I believe some parents will want to know.  There is infrequent potty language. Note the wording there, words like “doody” and “fart.”  insults made by The Boss Baby include “you went to community college” and “brat.”  Tim’s imagination runs wild and is sometimes what some children may find scary…maybe creepy is a better word.  Tim and The Boss Baby hit/slap each other, but there is no extreme violence.

Overall, this is very much child appropriate.  Having watched it with William, I would definitely say most (if not all) 5 year olds can distinguish the difference between what is real and what is Tim’s imagination in the movie.  There are moments of peril or danger, but they aren’t scary.  Older children still won’t get the adult jokes and the heist theme that is geared toward parents, but may also find the movie less interesting than their younger counterparts.

The Future of The Boss Baby

A sequel is planned for 2021.  Alec Baldwin is in.

On December 12, 2017 there was an announcement that there will be a Netflix television series based on the movie.  It is to take place after the events of the movie.  The show is to premiere in 2018, but no release date has been published as of this writing.

What do Mommy and Ninja think?

Mommy:  Well, it kept William’s interest enough to watch it back-to-back…that’s a win 8 days a week!  It’s really not a good movie.  I wouldn’t recommend this to adults without children.  I chuckled a few times, but rolled my eyes more.  DreamWorks gave us a dud this time.

Ninja:  “I like it, because it’s awesome and it has a boss baby and he can talk.  And he’s making a plan against an evil villain, which are puppies.”

The Boss Baby Details

RatingPG (Mild rude humor)
GenreAnimated
Kids and Family
Comedy
StudioDreamWorks Animation
Runtime97 Minutes
Box Office$498.9 Million USD
Mommy and Ninja Rating
With a 2.5 out of 5, this should go without saying, but this is not a good movie. William enjoyed it thoroughly, which is why it rated as highly as it did. The humor just fell flat here.

The Boss Baby~

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Review: Omega Quintet (PlayStation 4)

I’ll start by saying this:  I wanted to like Omega Quintet.  It is certainly an interesting game, but for all the wrong reasons.  In a perfect world, all of my video games will be absolutely captivating, with stories that make you love the hero/heroine and hate the villain and battle systems so fantastic that your 80th hour is no more tedious than your 1st.  Well, I don’t want to be the one to have to break your bubble, but we don’t live in a perfect world and Omega Quintet is proof of that.  Let me go into more detail on several aspects of the game and explain myself.

Omega Quintet (PS4)

 

Omega Quintet General Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingYin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Half Yin Yang 25x50
Available PlatformsPS4
Available FormatsDigital
Retail Disc
Platform Reviewed onPS4
GenreJRPG
DeveloperGalapagos RPG
PublisherIdea Factory International
Release DatesJP - October 2, 2014
NA - April 28, 2015
EU - May 1, 2015
RatingsESRB: Teen
PEGI: 12
USK: 16
ACB: M

***Disclosure:  This is a videogame review and while I make my best effort not to include spoilers, sometimes it happens.  Consider yourself warned.***

Parent’s Information

First, let’s talk about Omega Quintet and the young person that may be asking for this.  If you’re a parent here looking for whether or not your child should play this game, here’s the place to look.  Not taking into account the quality of the actual game, here’s what you need to know:

Here in the US, the ESRB rated this T for Teen for the following reasons:  fantasy violence, language, partial nudity, suggestive themes, and use of alcohol.  Click here for details.

In Europe, PEGI rated this as appropriate for 12 and older.  They stated the following:  It contains: Non realistic looking violence towards human characters – Sexual images and/or sexual innuendo – Mild bad language.

In Germany, USK rated this for 16 and older only.  In Australia, the ACB rated this M, which means 15 and older for Sexualised imagery.

So, would I let my child play it?  Well, he’s about to be 6…so, no.  Is this game appropriate for a 13 year old?  I think Mature would have been extreme, but I think Teen is a little light.  I actually think it falls somewhere between the ESRB ratings of Teen and Mature, but that’s just my opinion.  If William were 13, I would probably not let him play this.

A few things to note about Omega Quintet:  Japanese Idol Culture markets these young girls (not women, girls) as sex objects.  This idol culture creates over-sexualized images of teen girls (and boys).  This game is a satire about this culture.  That being the case, young girls are over-sexualized.  There are several scenes with the girls seen in their underwear.  You are actually able to up-skirt your character while walking about the world and when you do it, she plays like she’s modest and tells you to stop.  If your characters’ clothing gets damaged in battle (which happens over time anyways), it begins to fall apart eventually leaving the girls in their underwear.

***Click here to get more details on what ESRB ratings mean.***

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Review: Vintar Motion Sensor LED Toilet Light

I know what you’re thinking.  Toilet light?  Why on Earth?  Well, for anyone with a little boy (or in many cases a man) living in your home, you want this little light.  I never even thought about a light inside the toilet until I was browsing the Amazon Deals of the Day one night and happened onto this little guy:  Vintar 16-Color Motion Sensor LED Toilet Night Light. (<–Affiliate link)

The light itself is bright enough to illuminate the bathroom, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes in the middle of the night.  It is battery operated and fairly compact.  You won’t even know it’s there during the day.  You can see it on the outside of the toilet, but it’s not garish.  It can actually be an interesting conversation piece.  My uncle was so amused by our light, William got him his very own for Christmas this year.  He loves it.

This particular toilet light is LED and has 16 colors.  The light simply rotates through the colors one-by-one, gently changing between them every 4 seconds or can be set to one solid color.  There is a setting to change the brightness of the light, there are 5 possible levels of brightness.

 

The view in the dark
The toilet light in action!

What is a motion sensor toilet light and why do I need one?

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