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
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
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
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
Neverending Nightmares was a rather interesting horror title released towards the end of last year for both Steam and Ouya. Right from looking at some screenshots, you can already see it has a unique art style as well as some frightening imagery. It also has a unique premise in that it is about a mental patient who has an unending series of nightmares as he struggles to awake from them. This is also a game that relies a lot more heavily on atmosphere than on mere jumpscares and traditional scares that try to assault your senses. Read more
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit is a game that could be seen as somewhat of a modern twist on the whole “anthropomorphic animal with attitude” archetype that pervaded the 90s. Of course it is fitting that this was made by Sega, the same company that gave us Sonic the Hedgehog, the quintessential animal with attitude in video games. So the question is, does Hell Yeah manage to recreate what made the original Sonic memorable? The answer to that is that it kind of does, but it kind of doesn’t.
In terms of its presentation, Hell Yeah! excels. The art style is very flashy, the game has some hilarious dialogue, the music kicks ass, and pretty much everything about this game gives off the idea that this is going to be a fun game. The game’s storyline is about the prince of hell, a skeletal Rabbit named Ash, who is trying to hunt down the 100 monsters that saw a photo he mistakenly put up on his blog of him cuddling a stuffed animal. Read more
Teslagrad was an indie platformer title released in 2013 that seemed to have had some fairly decent reception. Unfortunately I really cannot why. Well technically I can but I do not find it to be a logically sound reason. Teslagrad is a game that looks nice and sounds nice, and it seems fun at first, but a lot of its design flaws are very subtle to the point where the average player won’t realize they are there. Do not get me wrong, they will in fact experience these flaws, but they will likely not see them as such despite them for some reasons that I plan to explain shortly. Read more
I first wrote my review of the first eXceed title back in 2014, and I took a lot longer to get to this game than I expected. Granted it is probably more absurd for me to have not reviewed another Senran Kagura or Persona game until now, but your Goddess works in mysterious ways after all, and by that she means that playing eXceed 2nd at this time was a spur of the moment decision without much prior thought.
It was quite convenient that I played through the first eXceed with my old crappy computer because I actually tried replaying it recently. That attempt was short lived because I realized that the first eXceed was not re-formatted for newer PCs. It was originally a 2005 title so ran well on my old crappy computer but was pretty much unplayable on my newer one. it is quite clear that the effort was put into the 2nd and 3rd games with the first one as little more than an afterthought, and having now played Vampire Rex I can see why. Read more
Banzai Escape is the first and only title by developer XenoAisam, and it is not hard to see why they haven’t made another one after this. Banzai Escape is of the quality where you can tell that there was genuine effort into making something good, but also can tell that it kinda sucks. I’m usually hesitant to go into full angry reviewer shtick when reviewing small indie games because I know fully well that if I ever start developing games, then my first game is probably going to be shit. This is one of the key reasons why I have been hesitant to become a game dev in the first place.
As a gamer, I WANT for devs to keep making games and to improve upon their old ones. Hurling insults at the developers and making overly long drawn out hypothetical scenarios of things I’d allegedly rather do than play their games is not going to push them to get better. It takes a lot for a game to pass that threshold and piss me off, and that rage is limited for games like Ghostie Quest, Vickinachi, Insincere, Cube Master: Light Adventure, and a dozen other games you’ve never heard of and will forget about after you are done reading this piece. Read more
I’d say I’m surprised it took me as long to get around to Nekopara Extra as I did, but I’m really not. This is just what happens when you not only have a ton of games to play AND write reviews for, but also are busy in several other areas of your life. I’m also so backed up on reviews that I’m basically writing this review a month after completing the game so my memory may be a little bit fuzzy in regards to the specific plot events, especially since Nekopara Extra is a pretty short game.
While Nekopara Extra is longer than Vol. 0, it is still pretty brief and doesn’t really feel like a full game. Then again, I don’t think Nekopara Extra was intended as anything rather than a brief prequel to each of the remaining entries. Nekopara Extra was a game offered as stretch goal of the Kickstarter campaign for the OVA based on Vol. 1. There was actually an additional stretch goal to make an additional animation based on the then non-existent prequel… a stretch goal for a stretch goal. The campaign fell short of the $1,000,000 dollars needed for that stretch goal, but the fact that a series of visual novels about catgirls reached $963,376 to begin with is quite remarkable. I doubt you’d see that kind of support for a Sakura Spirit OVA. Read more