SINoALICE revels in its stories

SINoALICE is a game that always has something to say. It isn’t entirely unexpected, given its platform and genre. This is an RPG, after all, and those place a high priority on the tales they are designed to tell. It is also a mobile affair, and developers seem to understand that there always needs to be something happening to hold peoples’ interests. But the degree to which things are happening here is extraordinary.

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Atelier Lina learned from every DS entry’s mistakes

A common lament here, if you haven’t noticed, is that many of the games that remained unlocalized deserved better. Maybe they deserve a larger audience. Perhaps their gameplay is fascinating. In the case of Atelier Lina: The Alchemist of Strahl, the issue comes down to righting wrongs. The third Nintendo DS Atelier game, it is the first one that righted the wrongs of Atelier Lise and Atelier Annie. Unfortunately, the decision not to localize it means people didn’t get a chance to see everything it got right.

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Kawaii Pet Shop Monogatari 3 goes beyond simple critter care

When you hear a name like Kawaii Pet Shop Monogatari, it might be easy to develop some preconceived notions about what such a game might entail. The words “cute” and “pet shop” might lead people to think it is an attempt to usher people into some sort of pet caretaking simulation. Especially since later installments turned into the My Pet Shop line. But the truth is something far different. Instead, these early games could feel more like pet acquiring RPGs.

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Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix is a convenient compilation

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva games tend to fall into one of two different categories. There are the titles that attempt to offer a little extra context and a wider environment to the experience, like Project Mirai DX with its little room and Puyo Puyo game or Project Diva X Live Quest mode, where you attempt to complete certain quests. Then, there are ones that serve as a convenient means of accumulating a library of popular songs and giving people enough options to properly enjoy them. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Mega Mix falls into that latter category.

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Review: Sakura Wars is at its best when it’s being theatrical

Fifteen years ago, in 2005, the last “real” Sakura Wars game was released. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love introduced Japan to a New York Combat Revue and the promise of new characters for the series, then five years later introduced the rest of the world to the series as a whole. It was a great game that blended visual novel elements, relationship building and thoughtful strategic endeavors into one experience. With Sakura Wars, the reboot set two years after the fifth installment, it at least gets two out of three right.

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