Jump, magic, jump
Lapis x Labyrinth is a lot. From the crowded HUD and gem-filled explosions of its 2D action gameplay to the procession of stat boosting systems and vast item lists of its role-playing layers, Nippon Ichi Software’s cute and colourful dungeon platformer threatens to overwhelm, but nonetheless skilfully onboards players for a...
"Just because you're beautiful and perfect, it's made you conceited"
Should you scold your warrior-princess because she keeps turning her subordinates into frogs and you think it is a bit extreme as far as disciplinary measures go, or should you praise her because she just survived being double-teamed by enemy mechs without any squad support? This...
Cool story bro
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. Once upon a time there was a game called The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. When you looked at a screenshot of this game, or perhaps a brief video of it in action, it seemed the fairest Switch game in all the land. Alas, that beauty hid a mortal ailment, for The Liar Princess and the...
Retro gold from a pre-Neo Geo era
Although SNK is best known these days for its fantastic Neo Geo console and arcade systems – of which approximately a bajillion games are already available individually on the Switch – it's easy to forget that the Osaka-based company enjoyed 12 years developing games before the Neo Geo arrived in 1990. The SNK...
Alone in the dark
Horror of the simplest form is often the scariest. The danger that lurks unseen. The shifting darkness that stirs only in the corner of the eye. A distant scream or a whisper that’s impossibly close. It’s this ideal that’s helped games of a terrifying persuasion extend their roots among the small budgets and remits of the...
Aye Aye Dood!
Shortly after Switch’s launch, Disgaea 5 Complete brought the tactical RPG series’ unique brand of colour, combos and comically excessive levelling-up to the console. A year and a half later it’s joined by an HD remaster of the game that kicked things off fifteen years ago, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness – now rechristened Disgaea 1...
The classic dungeon-crawling RPG has been around for a long time. From the Ultima games right through to the Wizardry series, we’ve been treated to a genre that’s remained very niche, but still incredibly compelling when in the hands of the right developer. So when Nippon Ichi - the Japanese studio most commonly known for...
Rest assured, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy knows exactly what kind of game it is. Which is handy considering it’s being released in 2018, where any sort of game with this much of onus on unrealistic cup sizes and objectification is likely to have the social media mobs banging at the door, pitchforks in hand. Thankfully, it’s a game...
Strategy? Tactics? Stractics!
As we await next year’s ‘proper’ Fire Emblem entry on Switch, strategy and tactics fans have several alternatives in that nebula of sub-genres to tide them over. Between games like Mercenaries Saga Chronicles, Disgaea 5 Complete and The Banner Saga trilogy (or even Mario + Rabbids
Time to shrine
Ah, The Touhou series. Well, depending on your experience and exposure, the ‘project’ is either a long-standing production line of ‘Danmaku’ (curtain fire) bullet hell shmups, a vast array of parody and homages ranging from Castlevania clones to 3D fighters (in the form of Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle), or a vast,...
Pokémon meets Ghostbusters meets Etrian Odyssey?
If you find the setting for most modern JRPGs to be rather too much like the old JRPGs, The Lost Child might be of some interest. Set in present-day Tokyo, it casts you as Hayato, a junior reporter for an occult magazine who soon falls into the old journalistic trap of becoming part of the story...
Ysy to love
Though Nihon Falcom’s Ys (pronounced 'ease') has been sending gamers off on action-RPG adventures since 1987, you’d be forgiven for not being familiar with the series, with the last mainline release on a Nintendo console being the Japan-exclusive Ys V in 1995. Since then, Ys has seen something of a renaissance on PlayStation...
The best form of defence is attack
RPG developers have long struggled over how to make a turn-based battle system that excites on a visceral level. If nothing else, Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory suggests one possible solution to such a conundrum. This side-scrolling role-playing game features a competently written narrative as well as light...
You've got the whole world in your hands
It’s quite hard to categorise a game that tries its hardest to defy categorisation, but it’s often something that needs to be done, in order to inform the consumer what they will experience. Happy Birthdays is best surmised as a sandbox game which, while layered with wonderfully cute visuals of flora and...
Money makes the world go ‘round
Imagine a world where money is at the centre of everything we do, where the rich prosper and the poor suffer. Imagine a world where a handful of cash can bribe you into, or out of, certain situations, where – hang on a minute. Yes, Penny-Punching Princess revolves around the idea of money ruling pretty much...
Is it worth your time?
The Longest Five Minutes has one of the most interesting concepts we’ve seen from an RPG in some time. Starting immediately at the final boss battle, the game’s almost cringefully named protagonist ‘Flash Back’ has no memory of why he is suddenly fighting the Demon King, or even who any of his friends and allies are...
Is it a knock-out?
Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle is a fighting game spin-off from the Touhou Project – a series of video games, print works, and CDs that follow protagonist Reimu Hakurei adventuring through a haunted region of Japan. Reimu, as well as the series’ secondary character Marisa Kirisame, join a host of playable characters to...
Fully decked out
Twenty years ago a bizarre amalgamation of card game, board game, and video game first released on the Sega Saturn, and made waves with its strategic depth, addictive gameplay and unique concept. Subsequent titles have shuffled the formula since, but that core blend of number-crunching, dice-rolling and card collecting remained,...
If any modern system can lay claim to the JRPG throne, it’s the 3DS. In the six-or-so years since Nintendo’s little handheld hit the market, aficionados have been treated to all sorts of adventures new and old, from Dragon Quests and Bravely games to Shin Megami Tenseis galore. That sort of library encourages serious RPG...
In the early days of the Nintendo Switch we're gradually seeing the broadening of its library to incorporate a wide range of genres. Disgaea 5 Complete is an early and substantial release for strategy / tactical gamers, and is also the most 'Disgaea' game many will have played. To be absolutely clear from the outset your...
Fasten your seatbelts
Rodea the Sky Soldier has had a pretty turbulent launch. The original concept for the game was conceived way back in 2010 by Yuji Naka, lead programmer and eventually producer on many Sonic the Hedgehog titles. The next year it was reported that the game was finished and ready to be published for the Wii, yet it never came...
Yuji Naka is a legend in the world of game design. He has worked on notable series such as Sonic the Hedgehog, NiGHTS into Dreams and Phantasy Online for nearly 30 years. His newest creation, Rodea the Sky Soldier, has been stuck in development limbo for over five years, but the time has finally come for it to see the light of day...
Third dimension is the charm
When Cave Story was first released for the PC in 2004, players quickly fell in love with its simple visual design and action-packed gameplay. And while the game has generally retained that look and feel for its subsequent multiplatform releases in recent years, Nicalis decided to put the 3D capabilities of Nintendo's new...
Genre-mashing cinematic robot-girly goodness
It might seem surprising that one of Sega's longest-running and most successful franchises would never have seen the light of day outside of Japan, possibly a result of it being perceived as "too Japanese". namely due to a strong adventure game component which is commonly referred to as a "dating sim," because there's a lot of talking..