Game Reviews

Game Reviews

Review: Deardrops (PC) Visual Novel stars

From the first time I touched a piano when I was eight, I've always found the universal language of music to be filled with layers of depth and intrigue. Although I was never an excellent player, I learned to appreciate the time and effort it takes to create and perform masterful compositions. As fans found out after visual novel developer Overdrive's last effort to encapsulate this feeling in a coming-of-age story with Kira Kira, the search for a musically inspired passion for life can make a fantastic story.

The company's latest musical endeavor, Deardrops, had one simple goal in mind: to create a spiritual successor to the aforementioned series. While Deardrops certainly does rekindle some of the magic from Kira Kira, and to a much lesser extent Kira Kira: Curtain Call, Deardrops often hits a flat note and sputters off-key in places where its predecessor excelled. This is largely in terms of pacing and a rather exhausting common route.

Mugen Souls (PS3) Review stars

Ready to conquer the universe? In NISA's newest import title Mugen Souls, you take on the role of the charismatic (and slightly hot-tempered) ChouChou. This daring self-proclaimed "goddess of the universe" has only one goal: to make everything in the galaxy belong to her just because she wants to. It's just not enough to conquer one planet in the solar system: you'll need to conquer all seven planets, their continents, and pretty much every life form that can be found. Luckily, she has a small crew and a ship to help make the journey easier.

Ether Vapor Remaster (PC) Review stars

Bullet hell shooters such as the Touhou series are frightening affairs to me, but a lot of people consider them to be fun and hectic games that provide a solid challenge to gamers worldwide. Ether Vapor Remaster is a recent addition to this genre. Brought to English-speaking audiences by the publisher Nyu-media, Ether Vapor was originally released in 2006 by the doujin company Edelweiss. I managed to snag a copy from a friend when it first came out, and upon hearing about the release of the ’remastered‘ version, I knew I had to try it.

Blazing Star (iOS) Review stars

Bullet hell fans rejoice, another entry has been made available on both iOS (version 4.0 and higher) and Android for everyone to enjoy. This time, it comes in the form of an old favorite from SNK Playmore called Blazing Star.

Atelier Meruru: the Apprentice of Arland (PS3) Review stars

As someone who started the Atelier series when I first played Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis on the PlayStation 2, the ninth title of Gust's flagship series, I’ve since been enamored with the franchise. Although the series has always been known for its alchemy system, the character development in the game has always been top-notch and included deep, rich backgrounds and succulent designs. Atelier Meruru: the Apprentice of Arland is a wonderful representation of this. It’s a throwback to the time when a game didn’t have notable "different" endings that were actually the same, wasn’t bogged down by battle after battle involving superfluous moral messages, and companies weren’t trying to one up competitors with awe-inspiring shiny high-def graphics. In other words, Atelier Meruru is a JRPG enthusiast's delight.

Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2 (PS3) Review stars

In the last Hyperdimension Neptunia, we saw intrepid protagonists save the world known as Gamindustri from evil. In Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2, brought to us by NIS America, we find Gamindustri has been taken over by a dark force called Arfoire. The player’s job is to travel and look for others to help rescue the world again. But, along the way, you need to change the views of people you interact with and convince them to actually join you. The gameplay is turn based with a free roaming component where characters move around the battle area to perform attacks that have different radii. When not in battle, the game is text based and uses 2D backgrounds. (There is a lot of reading involved.) If you’ve ever played a visual novel, then you will find this game to be similar. The first thing you’ll notice in the new game is the intro song called “Kirihirake! Glazy☆star!”[1] voiced by Nao. It’s great, so don’t skip over it; I recommend listening every time you start the game.

[1] Song translated from Japanese reads as “Kirihirake! GracieStar,” but NIS named it “Kirihirake! GlazyStar” in the US release.

Cave Story 3D (3DS) Review stars

In 2004, a man named Daisuke Amaya released a freeware game known as Cave Story for the PC. A labor of love, Amaya spent the better part of more than five years developing, designing and programming the pixel-sprite 2D platforming game. Publishing the game under his pen-name “Pixel”, Cave Story is Amaya’s loving homage to many of the 2D platforming games of his youth.

Fate/Extra (PSP) Review stars

Fate/Extra is one of the latest chapters in the highly popular Fate/stay night series by visual novel maker, Type-Moon. Fans of the franchise will be pleased to know the game scenario was written by Kinoko Nasu who wrote the original Fate/stay night story and most of Type-Moon's flagship titles. The game was developed in collaboration with Imageepoch who also worked on the Black Rock Shooter PSP game, while Aksys Games handled the American localization. As a warning, this review does contain a few minor spoilers but nothing you won't figure out within the first couple hours of playing.

NEOGEO Station Review - Relive That Childhood stars

Bringing back some nostalgia for the 90’s gamer, SNK Playmore has released NEOGEO Station on the Playstation Network, which can be accessed from the PS3. This is largely a celebration of SNK’s 20th anniversary in 2010. Included in this package are 10 titles, many of which will bring back fond memories for older gamers, but may also destroy some childhood memories.

Go Go Zettai Ranger! ZHP Review stars

A super hero, super baby, and Darkdeath Evilman, sounds like a cast of silly characters brought to you courtesy of Nippon Ichi Software (NIS). Zettai Hero Project: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman takes dungeon exploring and blends it with the deep gameplay fans have come to love from the Disgaea series. Like Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero? and Cladun: This is an RPG!, ZHP disregards the norm and brings a blend of addictive gameplay and off the wall comedy that makes the game one of the more desirable handheld titles this year.