Review: Atelier Lulua is the epitome of efficiency

Different installments in Gust’s Atelier series can find themselves known for different things. Atelier Firis was about getting more places to go. Atelier Sophie tries to make us realize why each recipe mattered. With Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland, it can feel like the theme is efficiency. That extends to alchemy, exploring a world, telling a story and offering an epilogue to one of the better known Atelier trilogies.

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Review: Slash, spend, get a head in Lapis X Labyrinth

The latest release from the team behind the Disgaea series, Lapis X Labyrinth is a different sort of game for the studio, but one coated with similar trappings and aesthetics. It’s an action game in which you’ll make timed runs through areas to get loot and defeat enemies, but you’re still managing equipment with effects and maneuvering around a hub world taking the place of a more efficient (but perhaps less evocative) menu system. It’s got meters for special moves, reward-multiplying “fever time” and direction-based attack inputs, but you’re ultimately still equipping a small team of customized units and bringing them to a place to slash at gems and take out specifically-marked bosses.

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Review: Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission brings a Japan-only arcade experience to the West

It can be fascinating to drop into a franchise years into a deep, devoted fandom and view it without the knowledge or context of the past. Fans of Japanese games often have no other choice, as newer entries are localized and released in the West without its predecessors in tow. Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is definitely one of these, and its combination of cumulative elements and beginnings in a culture for which we have no equivalent makes it quite the peculiar case.

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Review: Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash is one for the fans

Once upon a time, it seemed like a miracle that Team GrisGris’ Corpse Party was localized. It was a horrific adventure with lots of visual novel elements and an indie game. However, Xseed Games took a chance on it, then kept taking chances on bringing more ports and spin-offs to other countries. A fanbase grew, and it made a name for itself. But one title seemed exceptionally unlikely: Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash. Miraculously, it too has received a localization! It’s interesting, to say the least, but its laser focus means it is very much a game for the fans.

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Review: Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists makes you the magical manager

With the number of alchemists we see in every one of Gust’s Atelier series, it may be easy to forget that, well, there are more normal people in these hypothetical countries than magical ones! As critical as these creators are, what about the people in charge of determining those tasks that the cities give the area’s ateliers every few weeks and months? What are their lives like? Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World gives us a glimpse into that kind of life is like. Surprisingly, bureaucracy isn’t all that boring!

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Review: The Princess Guide helps you turn princesses into capable rulers

What happens when the fight leaves an old soldier? They’ve done all they can do for their troop and are searching for a new goal. Well, in The Princess Guide, the next step is to try and help make the world a better place by sharing their knowledge and skills, rather than stepping onto the field to fight. The result is a spiritual successor to Penny-Punching Princess that gives people more princesses to follow and additional control over their actions and growth.

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Review: Fate/Extella Link offers more ways to connect and fight with Servants

The Fate/ series can be overwhelming. There are different storylines to follow, even though certain characters may appear in multiple installments and timelines. Fate/Extella has attempted to be one of the more accessible spin-offs, at least in gameplay, if not story, and now Fate/Extella Link is here to continue the story that began in Fate/Extra. Fortunately for both newcomers and returning fans, this entry both fixes problems from Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star and tries to help people wade into the depths of its lore.

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Review: The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince tells a simple, but sweet, story

Sometimes, games are more about telling a story than anything else. The mechanics and elements revolve around the things the developer needs to make the title come to life. Enter The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. People from two very different worlds meet, an unfortunate incident binds them together and the player goes through levels that highlight their newfound bond and interactions.

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