"It's flippin' finally on the Switch, en't it?"
In 2008, Level-5 was coming up on its tenth anniversary and wanted to produce a project that its staff was passionate about, regardless of how well it would sell, and the world was introduced to Ni No Kuni: The Another World. A two-pronged project, one version of it came to the Nintendo DS as the...
A charming addition to the tribe
While it’s never quite reached the levels of superstardom enjoyed by Pokémon and other Japanese-centric monster-collecting RPGs (well, not consistently anyway), the Yo-Kai Watch series has remained one of the best handheld franchises to ever grace the seemingly immortal Nintendo 3DS. Of course, we western fans...
Blasting makes us feel good
When it comes to most of the best games coming out of Japan, we dedicated Western fans are often left waiting years to finally getting our hands on them. Three years, in fact, when it comes to this particular (and very popular) Yo-Kai Watch spin-off. And considering the series’ third full entry entirely avoided a...
A pleasing puzzle solution
The Professor Layton series was an endearing part of the DS and 3DS generation, spawning six main-series titles and a spin-off with Ace Attorney. After that point Level-5 called it a day on the puzzle solving gentleman, no doubt concerned about the IP losing its freshness and a general decline in sales. It was a sad...
The Boos are Back in Town
Level-5’s Yo-Kai Watch drew plenty of comparisons to Pokémon when it first came West, thanks to its monster-gathering mechanics and playground appeal, but it really started to resemble Nintendo’s Pocket Monster powerhouse with the split release of its 2016 sequel: Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy...
Yo-kai to the past
When Yo-kai Watch arrived in the West (initially North America) in November 2015, it charmed us with its dense and detailed world, frantic touchscreen battle system and off-kilter personality. Although the similarities to Pokemon were overt, Yo-kai Watch still managed to carve out a unique identity and take us on a surprisingly...
Gotta friend 'em all
There's no point beating around the bush: Yo-Kai Watch is a lot like Pokémon. But instead of straight up emulating one of Nintendo's biggest franchises, developer Level-5 has aspired to create something a bit stranger and fresher than Pokémon has done in years. The result is a welcoming RPG that has some highs and some lows,...
Battle-ready or rusting in a corner?
If your first thought when looking at LBX: Little Battlers eXperience was that it's aimed for children you'd be right on the money. From top to toe this is clearly aimed at the older child/young teenager market with its colourful aesthetic, 'kid-friendly' violence and badass robots. The core of the game however...
It’s a wonderful Life
Fantasy Life, Level-5 and Brownie Brown’s life sim and action RPG, is a game with a long and storied history. Originally announced in Japan for the Nintendo DS/DSi generation of consoles back in 2009, it spent three years in development, seeing a platform upgrade to the Nintendo 3DS, finally releasing in Japan-only on 27th...
Shiny new kit
In Japan, Level-5 is one of the masters at maximising franchises through games — typically on portable systems — and TV shows or films, continually keeping the storyline going and producing regular content. Yo-kai Watch is the current craze, while Professor Layton had some film content to accompany six main-series games and more...
A puzzling crossover to be solved
It's no surprise that the announcement of Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney back in 2012 in Japan caused quite a buzz among keen Nintendo portable gamers. The two franchises typify much of what made the DS a phenomenal success — even if Ace Attorney had its beginnings on Game Boy Advance — by...
A Beautiful Game
In Japan Inazuma Eleven is an institution — a multi-modal soccer sensation spanning several sequels and spin-offs, a wildly successful anime adaptation, and even a collectable card game; it's also enjoyed a number of releases in Europe. It's captured hearts from Kyoto to Cádiz, and now Level-5 is aiming to complete that...
Remember the Guild01 series from all the way back in late 2012? Of course you do. It’s the little eShop series that could. Defying all expectations, the Guild games jumped the pond from Japan and landed securely on the Western 3DS eShop stores, providing three indie games that span a variety of genres. The success of the original...
We're no strangers to dual releases in the Inazuma Eleven series, as it apes the money-spinning convention best seen in the Pokémon franchise; yet Inazuma Eleven 3: Team Ogre Attacks adds a third variation at a later release date. For fans of Inazuma Eleven 3 in either of its first two forms this is potentially more of a rather good...
A final puzzle to savour
The arrival of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy is an occasion both exciting and tinged with sadness. For dedicated fans of the franchise across DS and 3DS there's the promise of hundreds of puzzles and a generous dosage of gentlemanly charm, offset by the knowledge that — for now at least — this is the last...
The Inazuma Eleven football / soccer RPG franchise is a major success in Japan, so much so that spin-offs and new releases are — at a minimum — arriving on an annual basis. Localisation to Europe has been a slower burn, and unfortunately non-existent in North America, so the arrival of Inazuma Eleven 3, the third title in the...
Pacific Rim meets The Goonies
Level-5 saved the best for last in its final Guild02 release with Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale. Designed by Kaz Ayabe, this is a short, very sweet interactive story about a little boy who lives in a small town where mysterious monsters appear on Friday afternoons. The game takes place in rural Tokyo in...
The Guild01 series brought 3DS owners three completely different, off-the-wall, and well-received games. The second iteration of this series, appropriately named Guild02, is already off to another fantastic start with the recent release of The Starship Damrey, a story-heavy science fiction adventure. Now, we’re lucky enough to experience...
A short story adventure
There's a reason that some gamers get excited at the news of Guild01 and Guild02 localisations in the West, as Level-5's collections gather some of the Japanese development community's finest names to produce small titles of, well, whatever genre they feel like trying out. The Starship Damrey is the first of the second...
The red coat is coming
All magic in the world stems from gifts delivered directly to mankind from the gods. That much, as far as Crimson Shroud is concerned, is fact. Or is it? As you lead your party through a treacherous dungeon in search of the original gift — the titular and mysterious Crimson Shroud — other possibilities present themselves...
A game with a lot of baggage
We at Nintendo Life absolutely loved Airport Mania: First Flight. Its appeal was rooted largely in the simplicity of its tasks, and the larger effects they all seemed to have. Airport Mania took the entire, massive scope of airport management and narrowed it to a tiny focus: directing and maintaining planes. There was,...
Crazy super-duper Strikers!
When it comes to Inazuma Eleven Strikers, don't let any references to football (soccer if you're of the North America persuasion) or the snazzy kits fool you, this isn't a football game. It's a ball game with football-style rules, infused with extravagant special moves and buckets of charm, which is guaranteed to raise an...
It's Layton, so you probably know the answer
While gamers in Japan are eagerly awaiting the final part of the Professor Layton prequel trilogy, those of us in the West are relieved to finally get our hands on what was a Japanese 3DS launch title, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask — originally known as Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle...
A few months ago, Japan received the 3DS game Guild01, essentially a compilation of four specially developed games, each created by different well-known designers. Instead of simply releasing the collection in the west, Level 5 has chosen to instead publish the individual games as eShop titles — though it seems that only three of the...
Back of the net
It’s time to save the world from aliens, but how? We could solve a lot of puzzles, blast enemies away with big guns, fly through space in an intergalactic warship or, alternatively, play football. In the universe of Inazuma Eleven 2 there isn’t a single problem that can’t be solved with a football – or soccer – match...