More Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is always a good thing. These puzzles, inspired by the challenges in Super Mario 3D World, give us a look at a cube filled with activity and make us consider what is happening in its depths, while also discerning the best possible paths for Captain Toad to follow. The Wii U game was a delight, but the Super Mario Odyssey levels in the 3DS and Switch ports of the game show an additional sense of refinement, understanding and playfulness. They remain something to be savored.Read more
Adventure games and visual novels have been gradually gaining popularity outside of Japan. Thanks to series like Ace Attorney and visual novels like Hakuoki, people seem to be more comfortable with doing a lot of reading while sitting in front of their favorite console. It also means now might finally be a good time for Jake Hunter Detective Story to make its mark. This established adventure series is well established in Japan, and it might just be poised to find a place for itself in other regions after 2018.Read more
The Nintendo Switch is only just beginning to establish itself as a platform for otome games. More than a few companies have prepared ports of mobile titles, which allow people to pay a set fee and access all storylines on their systems. Idea Factory is beginning its Otomate invasion. This means you see games of varying degrees of quality on the console. Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit-, from Digimerce and OperaHouse is one of them. While it definitely has a very large and very noticeable flaw, it also has some elements that are of a higher quality than others.Read more
The enormous popularity of Puyo Puyo in Japan caused many, many competitors to try their hand at creating a falling-block puzzle franchise, and there weren’t many to find as much success in gameplay and domestic longevity as Taisen Puzzle Dama, Konami’s attempt in the genre. Let’s take a look at a signature entry — one tied to another Konami franchise that found a lot of fans in its home country!Read more
Gaming has reached an age where people are getting unprecedented access to import games. Newer titles are becoming easier to acquire, thanks to the removal of region-blocks. Older games are being picked up and localized. One company, Retro-bit, is releasing plug-and-play systems and compilation cartridges with NES and SNES games that include some titles that never received an official release outside of Japan. One of the latest is the Retro-bit GoRetro Portable, a Game Boy-inspired handheld that runs on four AAA batteries and plays an assortment of titles that either were on the NES or would have been at home on the system.Read more
After two PSP sequels and middling success in the West, there was a long period of quiet for Valkyria Chronicles. Revered by those who played it, it was set to fade away like so many franchises before it. Thankfully, it found a larger audience on PC and PS4, and this unlikely fourth game became reality.
There’s a lot of pressure on a project that comes about like this, and the first Valkyria Chronicles casts a long shadow. Thankfully, Valkyria Chronicles 4 more than lives up to the legacy.Read more
The appeal of a fighting game can be all sorts of things. It can be about mechanical complexity, gorgeous animation, intense matches, speed or big combos, as well as any number of other aspects of the game. The importance of the appeal, though, is that the rest of the game builds around it, and that it’s indelibly defined by this one particular selling point. The game is its appeal.
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy certainly isn’t an exception, but its chosen appeal is… something.Read more
How do you introduce people to folklore and fairy tales? Introducing people to mythology can be easy when they are young or in school, as such stories can sometimes be used to teach morals, introduce concepts that might be difficult for people to otherwise understand, act as warnings and get imaginations working. Once folks get older, it can be more difficult to get them engaged and interested in legends. Fortunately, some Japanese video games can step in to bridge the gap.Read more
Visual novels went from being a rare genre outside of Japan to one we see appearing on major consoles! This is great news, but it also means that there can be some ambiguity. Lots of games are having the “visual novel” label applied to them. Which is fine for beginners, but it does not really show how distinct and unique some games can be. There are different categories falling under the visual novel umbrella, after all. With games like Nekopara and 428: Shibuya Scramble finding their ways to consoles, now is a great time to go over the different kinds of visual novels, so you can be better informed before you start reading!Read more