Super Mario RPG is a game that, when it was originally released, likely met with a lot of skepticism. Squaresoft’s RPGs are generally known as their huge sweeping tales that were not like anything that most gamers have seen at the time. Mario games, on the other hand, generally had no story beyond the typical excuse plot involving rescuing the princess. I can imagine the surprise when the two ended up going together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Since then, there have been two sub series that have been considered spiritual successors to Super Mario RPG; those being the Paper Mario series, and the Mario & Luigi series. Super Mario RPG was also one of the last games released for the Super Nintendo in 1996 and was the last game Squaresoft developed for a Nintendo system until Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in 2003. Super Mario RPG was the source of many technical achievements and innovations for the time of its release, but the real question is if it is as impressive today as it was in 1996. Read more
A lot of us who live outside of Japan don’t realize just how important the Dragon Quest series is to gaming. So many of us are bound to have at least one JRPG among our favorites of all time, yet ultimately aren’t familiar with the series that put this genre on the map. I’ve often thought of what it must be like to discuss the differences in gaming culture with a gamer from Japan, about the differences in popularity and what games that we never got in our respective countries.
Dragon Quest III is to the Dragon Quest series what Final Fantasy VII is to the Final Fantasy series. It’s the one that damn near every thinks of when they hear the name of the series. I finally got the chance to play through Dragon Quest III for myself a few months ago through its Switch port, and even thirty years after its release, it still kicks some serious ass! Read more
Ever since I knew of Bravely Default’s existence, I was hyped up for it. Just about everything I saw was a sign that pointed to this being an amazing game. First of all, it being a spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light was a good sign seeing as how I found that to be one of the more underrated games in the Final Fantasy series. 4 Heroes of Light was a game I greatly enjoyed just due to how it managed to easily capture the feelings of Final Fantasy I-III while improving on their mechanics and presentation. Many have criticized it for being unpolished or overly difficult, but that was not correct. The game, despite not being easy in any sense, was well balanced enough due to how much more accessible and convenient the game’s job system was than previous games like Final Fantasy V. Yet what was probably the most memorable aspect of 4 Heroes of Light was its simplicity. Read more
Some times, the best things are those you don’t see coming. Prior to last week, I didn’t even know this game existed. Despite the fact that my reviews of visual novels tend to gain the most views, I haven’t found myself as familiar with the genre as some other visual novel fans. And honestly I have to ask, HOW is something as brilliant as this game not more popular? I get that it has only just now been released in the US, but you’d think that word of mouth would travel beyond language barriers.
Simply put, I have not been this floored by a game since I played Euphoria, and this game may be even better than it. Let that sink in… I wrote a thesis length essay on Euphoria… I was expecting to never find another work of fiction in any genre that blew my mind the same way. I don’t even know where to begin. Even though you obviously won’t see this piece until I complete it, right now I don’t even know how I’m going to. I just can’t think of the words to adequately describe my feelings towards this game, and describing my feelings towards games is my fucking job! Read more
Scratches: Director’s Cut is an updated port of an Argentinean point and click horror game, simply titled Scratches, that was originally released in 2006. The Director’s Cut of the game was originally released in 2007 and was released on Steam in 2011, only to later be removed. Looking it up, I was intrigued by what I heard about this game. There was very little that was mentioned about this game beforehand, but pretty much everything I heard was something good. Specifically what I heard that caught my attention was that it was a game that managed to scare people without including a single drop of blood. Yes this game is a T rated horror game, and not only does it have no blood, but there are not even any enemies or ways to die. Despite this, Scratches does an excellent job at building up suspense and being legitimately scary at some points.
Admittedly, I would not say it is the scariest horror game I have played, and I have not even played that many, but it does have a story that is very compelling and suspenseful. Unfortunately it is also pretty slow and takes a while to build up to where it gets really exciting, and considering that the gameplay is rather poorly handled, it means that it will not catch your attention right away. To add to this, the game is pretty short lived and somewhat uneventful. Overall Scratches is good for what it is and what it accomplishes. It manages to provide a compelling and creepy atmosphere without any violence despite being a bit slow. Read more
Serena is a very brief yet powerful point and click game that leaves a large emotional impact on the player. It has received a lot of support from the adventure fan community and has had some high profile people involved such as former Sierra staff member Josh Mandel, and the character Serena being voiced by Sarah Wilson, otherwise known as Pushing up Roses. This game was also the first to be developed by Senscape, who is headed by Agustin Cordes. When compared to Agustin Corde’s previous game, Scratches, Serena’s story is far more compelling and deep yet the game itself also has far less content. The one important aspect to note about Serena is that the game can be beaten in less than an hour. However, the game is free to play, and as a result, I cannot think of any reason not to recommend Serena. Read more
I’d imagine that given my propensity towards fanservicey anime-esque games with sexy women involved, that it comes as a surprise that I haven’t played Bayonetta until recently. The major reason I haven’t played it until recently is because it originally released back in 2010 when I didn’t have a PS3 or 360. I actually acquired a copy of the Wii U version of Bayonetta 2 back around 2014 or 2015, but I never got around to playing it or many of the Wii U games I owned in general due to the fact that depression hit me pretty hard around that time, and before that I was in a phase where I was only interested in JRPGs.
I actually decided to play and review the first Bayonetta as a result of a poll I held on my now suspended Twitter account, and it was held to serve as a milestone to me gaining $50 a month through Patreon. That was over a year ago, and I am just now getting to that review. Yes I know, I am very slow. And Bayonetta is fucking amazing! Read more
Asphyxia is a rather conflicting game for me. It, at first, seems like a recipe for a hit given its odd premise of being a yuri dating sim where the girls are based off of British authors from the 1800s and early 1900s (which is going to be lost on anyone who is not an English major, so I’m not going to be talking about it much). It also tells what by all means should be a very engrossing and compelling storyline with deep characters and mature themes. There is a lot to like about Asphyxia, but for once the problem with a story is not that it is shallow or amateurishly written.
Instead, much like those works of “classic” literature that we we’re forced to plow through in school, Asphyxia’s writing is plodding and stuffy. The characters do not talk like real people, there is an unnecessary amount of description put into insignificant details, and I just found myself trying to speed read through as much as I could in order to finish the game. In the end, I was curious enough about the storyline to get every ending, but it is not a game I plan to replay nor is it one I can recommend. Read more
Just now, I needed to take a look at my previous review of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa. I needed to do so because my feelings on Lucah: Born of a Dream are similar to that game, and I don’t want people to think I’ve gotten lazy (although with my less frequent updates, that ship has probably sailed). Also similarly to The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa, I did not care for this game.
Both are unique games that clearly had a strong ambition, and both are games that I can imagine a specific niche of people enjoying, but ultimately, both games disregard some of the most important rules of game design and create something that fails to engage overall. The difference between the two games is that they abandon different rules. Ringo Ishikawa abandoned the rules that games should be fun or accessible and tried to use its abysmal gameplay as a storytelling tool.
It’s no doubt that I have covered some strange games over the past few years. I could have taken the typical route as video game blogger and just covered all the newest and most popular games, but there is something that always draws me to these odd titles that are not perfect by any means, yet still have their own unique charm to them.
The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is the most recent game I’ve played that fits this category. It is one of those “I would not have played this on my own if I didn’t get a review copy” games, and I would say that I’m glad I played it, although I’m not sure I will be playing it again any time soon. Read more