Preview: Puru-Chara Friends: Hoppe-chan to Sanrio Characters lets you relax and (literally) make friends

Here’s a funny thing about Japanese mascot characters. They tend to get all sorts of games and products based on them. Hoppe-chan has been the star of a number of titles, typically on Nintendo platforms. Most recently, an ambitious cross-over occurred on the Nintendo Switch in Japan: Puru-Chara Friends: Hoppe-chan to Sanrio Characters. Hoppe-chan met Hello Kitty and her friends! It’s a relatively text-heavy game, but one that seems like it suits both the Hoppe-chan and Sanrio experiences.

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Preview: Doraemon: Story of Seasons uses its characters to add new functions

Story of Seasons, more often than not, allow you to tell your own stories. While each town will have some sort of backstory and premise, players can self-insert themselves into roles as new farmers and community members. But occasionally, this formula is played with via crossovers. Doraemon: Story of Seasons is one of those times. A more predetermined path is at play, even though people still have the freedom to farm however they’d like, and the demo helps show how this process works in action.

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Preview: Judgment, the Yakuza team’s latest, works to build a Kamurocho shared universe

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the team behind the franchise known in the West as Yakuza, attempted to walk a fine line when building Judgment. It’s an entirely new type of game, except for when it’s not. It’s got a brand-new cast of characters, except for when it has some existing characters. It’s meant to be a fresh start for the team, but it’s set in freaking Kamurocho, the place players know like the back of their hands. So it makes more sense to think of it not as a new series on its own, but instead part of a constantly collaborating shared-universe project.

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Preview: Umihara Kawase Fresh! gives people a sense of purpose

Umihara Kawase is back! By which I mean, both the physics-heavy, weird platformer series and its heroine are here again. Umihara Kawase Fresh! is heading to the Nintendo Switch worldwide, and things seem a little different this time around. Before, an installment would plop people into a strange, disjointed world, one where giant fish and frogs are ready to crush characters. All they would get is a fishing pole that functions as a grappling hook and means of pulling enemies into a surprisingly deep backpack. But with this new installment, players could be looking at one of the most enlightening and inviting entries in the Umihara Kawase series.

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Preview: Little Friends: Dogs & Cats captures the spirit of Nintendogs + Cats

Pet simulators on Nintendo platforms have a rather high bar to clear. This is a company that has given the world Nintendogs, then Nintendogs + Cats. Both games give people the chance to play with many adorable animals from an array of different breeds. The second one even manages to make cats, animals that sleep about 12 hours each day, interesting. Little Friends: Dogs & Cats has big shoes to fill. Fortunately, if the Japanese demo is any indication, it seems like it is going to do its best to attempt to embody the spirit of Nintendo’s iconic pet simulation series.

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Preview: Daemon x Machina looks at the sacrifices players have to make

Daemon x Machina is going to be Nintendo’s major mech game for the Switch. In it, players get to create a pilot who will act as a mercenary and fight to protect innocent people. Well, part of it is to make the world a better place. It is also about becoming strong enough to survive and earning some money along the way by defeating the Immortals AIs that decided to consider humans enemies after the moon fell. But what the demo is good at even pointing out early on is how the game shows the sacrifices made in the name of power.

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Hands-On: Langrisser Mobile aims to revive the franchise and make it a global strategy hit

The Langrisser series has had something of a spotty track record outside Japan, but it was a long-running series domestically, and its fans have been seeking a worthy follow-up for nearly two decades. 2019 is set to be a big year for the Langrisser, with two big projects pushing the franchise back into the spotlight: a remake of the first two titles and an ambitious mobile installment launching worldwide soon. We’ve spent some significant time with the mobile game before its closed beta starts this week, and we’re ready to tell you all about it!

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