What do you need to know about Vanillaware?

2D games are great, right? If there is one Japanese developer that has embraced the idea of them and ran with it, it is Vanillaware. The company is committed to the idea of games that are incredibly artistic and totally flat. Just recently, Dragon’s Crown came back into the spotlight with a PlayStation 4 release. But what do you need to know about this developer? Let’s go over some of the more important details.

Read more

Review: Dragon’s Crown Pro brings the original’s gameplay to new resolutions

When I reviewed the initial release of Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown in 2013, I called it a bundle of contradictions: brilliantly elegant when it’s not mind-numbingly frustrating and gorgeous and lush when it’s not making you intensely uncomfortable. Five years later, we have Dragon’s Crown Pro, and it’s even more mercurial in this new incarnation. It’s the same game in the ways you want, but it also skips an opportunity to make small changes that could really improve the overall experience.

Read more

Which Otomate otome games can people enjoy in English?

There is a name people caught up in the otome game craze should know: Otomate. This is the branch of Idea Factory that devotes itself to making games for women. These tend to be visual novels with dating sim elements, though Library Cross is a mobile RPG and I Will Protect You was an Otomate Forte Metroidvania. Lots of Otomate games have been released in English for people to enjoy! Depending on the system you own, you could have at least one title to try.

Read more

How to get The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2’s three endings

The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is a game with quite a few visual novel segments. While the bulk of a player’s time is spent following the Hundred Knight as he battles for the sake of Amalie and Milm/Chelka, the game does not shy away from telling stories about the sisters, witches and Weisse Ritter members. Combine that with Hundred Knight’s ability to assert his opinions, and it becomes clear that the ending will be influenced by the choices people make. Fortunately, the game is laid out in a way where it is easy to make saves at strategic points and rely on those to help you earn all three.

Read more

What do you need to know about SaGa?

It is a great time for fans of Square Enix’s SaGa series! Romancing SaGa 2 was ported to multiple platforms and released worldwide. SaGa: Scarlet Grace was the first new entry in the series in over 11 years when it was released on the PlayStation Vita in Japan in 2016. Basically, it feels like it is experiencing a renaissance. Which means it is a good time to review what makes it so special.

Read more

Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 sends a puppet down a lonely road

Nippon Ichi Software has a talent for making people care about undesirable characters. It made a name for itself with series like Disgaea, where the heroes are always these villainous overlords from hellish places and the gameplay consists of complex, strategic endeavors where intensive grinding is a fact of life. The Witch and the Hundred Knight series has always been an attempt to repeat that concept, only within a loot-heavy, action-RPG sphere. One of the original game’s problems was that the characters were too horrifying and villainous. While some of the gameplay elements are tightened up in The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2, it unfortunately repeats the first game’s mistake of not giving us leads worth loving.

Read more

Review: Atelier Lydie & Suelle ties up a trilogy

Gust’s Atelier series releases in groups of trilogies as of late. For example, Atelier Rorona, Totori and Meruru are part of the Arland trilogy, while Atelier Ayesha, Escha & Logy and Shallie make up the Dusk line. We are now at the end of another group. Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings is a game pulling double duty. It is expected to provide people an opportunity to help a pair of twins develop the best atelier in their town, while also wrapping up all of the Mysterious series’ storylines. While this particular trilogy has not been the most enthralling in Atelier history, this installment tries to make up for its predecessors’ story shortcomings while quickly tying up loose ends.

Read more

Review: Ni no Kuni II builds a nation of imagination

The return of a property mashing up all-stars, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom aims to step out of its predecessor’s shadow. It uses animation work from those with Studio Ghibli experience, but no longer has a connection to the studio itself. It comes from the team behind many core Dragon Quest titles, but moves further away from some of that series’ tropes while retaining what works in a more divergent context. It tells a tale of idealized innocence, without for a second apologizing for it. And it never lets up on the charm.

Read more