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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...
Be kind, rewind
While the Virtual Console may not be making a comeback on Switch, we’ve seen plenty of publishers step up to fill the retro void, with wide-ranging efforts such as HAMSTER’s Arcade Archives Neo Geo eShop series sitting alongside curated collections including Capcom’s Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. Not to be...
I Choose You!
Since my first playthrough of Pokémon Blue back in 1998, I’ve had a bit of an on-again, off-again relationship with Game Freak’s monster-collecting magnum opus. I certainly consider myself to be a fan, but I haven’t finished a main game since SoulSilver, and a 2016 summer spent scouring the countryside for Kanto critters in...
A Pirate's Life For Mii
In terms of sheer longevity, it’s hard to beat Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. The long-running adventure started out as a manga in 1997 — still running today! — and along the way has picked up every form of cross-licensing known to humankind, with anime, video games, novels and even theme parks retelling the tale of Monkey...
A Place Further Than the Universe
By now, ATLUS’ long-running Shin Megami Tensei series should be a familiar name for 3DS owners; from the Sega Saturn-remake of Shin Megami Tensei Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers to Shin Megami Tensei IV and its direct sequel Apocalypse, these darkly stylish, demon-collecting JRPGs have...
Shock to the heart
Kemco’s prolific JRPG output was a staple of the 3DS and Wii U eShops, and continues apace on the Switch, with the initial release of last year’s Revenant Saga followed by Dragon Sinker and now Asdivine Hearts. A port of a 2014 mobile release by Exe Create, Asdivine Hearts is an old-school JRPG that’s entirely competent but...
One of the more unique adventures to arrive on the Switch eShop in its first year was OPUS: The Day We Found Earth. A charming, story-focused stargaze-‘em-up from indie studio SIGONO, it delivered a shining example of narrative gaming and left us searching for more. Happily, publisher Flyhigh Works/CIRCLE has brought a follow-up in...
While the ‘J’ in ‘JRPG’ ostensibly stands for 'Japanese', it refers to a style of role-playing game rather than country of origin; strong, often linear stories and turn-based combat are the calling cards of the genre, and Western-made games such as Child Of Light and Cosmic Star Heroine follow its conventions just as much as...
Everybody wants to rule the world
While wartime strategy games are one of the evergreen genres of both board and PC gaming, they’re much less of a presence on console; outside of steadfast staples like the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, historical takes on the turn-based formula are particularly scarce. CIRCLE’s Conqueror series brought...
While we’ve seen all sorts of titles make their way to Nintendo systems in recent years, one genre that’s been distinctly underrepresented - and largely confined to PlayStation Vita - are otome games: romance titles starring female protagonists and marketed to women. D3 Publisher’s The Men Of Yoshiwara: Kikuya is the first title...
How low can you go?
When it first released on PC in 2015, Brace Yourself Game’s Crypt Of The NecroDancer was an unexpected delight: a personable dungeon crawler on a rhythm game base, it combined the procedurally-generated levels and relentless challenge of the roguelike genre with the beating heart of a dance game. Now that it’s out on Nintendo...
"I think you can call it a spiritual successor to Gals Fighters"
Of all the titles announced in January’s Nintendo Direct, one of the biggest surprises was SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. An all-female fighter featuring 2-vs-2 action and a cast of some of SNK’s best-loved characters, wrapped up in over-the-top costumes and candy-coated style, SNK...
You can go home again
The 3DS may be getting on these days, but it’s certainly got plenty to show for its half-dozen years on the scene, including an astoundingly impressive collection of RPGs. ATLUS has been a prolific contributor to this corner of its library, and alongside original titles such as Shin Megami Tensei IV, Persona Q, and Stella...
Ghosts in the machine
While some videogame genres remain quite open-ended in interpretation - puzzles or platformers, for instance - others have become decidedly codified. Perhaps no template exemplifies this phenomenon as much as the ‘roguelike’, a game type born from its 1980 PC namesake and with a modern presence on nearly every console under...
Stars in their eyes
With all the massive open-world adventures that have found a happy home on Switch so far, it’s equally nice to see indie developers crafting compelling experiences on much smaller scales. OPUS: The Day We Found Earth, a narrative-driven mobile port from indie studio SIGONO, certainly fits into that category, and it’s an...
Rōmaji rhythm runner
If you spend much time playing games, watching anime, or reading manga, Japanese is certainly an appealing second language option, and if you want to try your hand at learning, Hiragana Pixel Party — originally a mobile title — aims to kickstart that process. While it won’t help you with words or phrases, it will teach...
While the Switch has already booked an array of both dance (Just Dance 2017 and 2018) and rhythm games (like VOEZ, Deemo, and Superbeat Xonic), it’s safe to say that there’s nothing else in the system’s lineup quite like Floor Kids. In fact, this labour of love from Montreal-based duo JonJon (animator and former bboy) and Kid Koala...
"Pure, uninhibited (funky) joy"
There are plenty of dance-based games out there - with the likes of Just Dance 2017 and Just Dance 2018 having already moonwalked their way onto Switch - but the classic art of breakdancing is yet to have its proper time in the virtual spotlight. Well, one little indie is about to change all that, and with style, too...
From touchscreen jams like Deemo and VOEZ to the button-based beats of Thumper and Dark Witch Music Episode: Rudymical, the Switch has already assembled an impressive collection of music games in its first year, and that trend doesn’t look set to end anytime soon. Superbeat: Xonic is the latest début to hit the
We're so style savvy
Paris. London. Milan. Kyoto? That’s right; while fashion industry hotshots and hopefuls tuned in to expos and trade shows in the Big Three, for many others, 2017’s haute couture highlight was delivered in a Nintendo Direct from the heart of Kansai: the announcement of New Style Boutique 3: Styling Star. Syn Sophia’s Style...
Girls Just Wanna Draw Blood
Some developers become so associated with a particular property that their name is almost synonymous with the series; such is certainly the case for Gust, whose annual alchemy-based Atelier titles have been delighting PlayStation gamers with intricate crafting and sunny slice-of-life storytelling since the PS One days. In...
Few systems have been blessed with the sheer number of RPGs of Nintendo’s plucky little 3DS, and perhaps no publisher has been as persistent in its contribution to that collection as KEMCO. It's brought more than a dozen titles — most of them mobile ports — to the 3DS’ eShop, alongside a smaller number to the Wii U, and now that...
Off the charts
ATLUS has been one of the 3DS’ biggest supporters, supplying Nintendo’s stereoscopic system with an impressive stream of JRPG gems over the last 6 years — including several excellent entries in the Etrian Odyssey series. Starting out on the DS and combining first-person dungeon crawling and touchscreen map-making, these...
The Switch has earned something of a reputation for hosting modern updates of classics from the Japanese gaming canon, with notable reimaginings like Blaster Master Zero and Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap hitting the nostalgia button on Turbo mode. One of the more surprising returnees to take advantage of this trend was Soldam: Blooming...