This week Level-5 did what it does best and made us excited for upcoming Japanese-made games. While there wasn't exactly a lot of information on the two Nintendo 3DS titles, Lady Layton and The Snack World, we got just enough of a glimpse of both to make owning a 3DS a sound investment well into 2017.
A couple of obscure reviews and some more information on Monster Hunter Stories rounded out a rather memorable issue of Famitsu.
Famitsu devoted the first chunk of this week's issue to several upcoming Level-5 games, with the recently announced Lady Layton being the first to appear on Nintendo consoles. The two-page spread dealt primarily with the protagonist, Katrielle Layton, and her quest to find her missing father, Hershel Layton. For those not familiar with Layton lore, Hershel was the protagonist of all past Layton titles. While out on her quest to find her father, Katrielle gets caught up in helping the citizens of London, from rescuing lost cats to solving murders. She does so with her talking dog, Sharo.
Several in-game locations were revealed this week. Frankfurt houses the Layton Offices. A shady place called Rolling Town Alley was also revealed along with a mid-class cruise ship, and as it's set in London we naturally have Big Ben. One can imagine the puzzles and mysteries locations like those will harbour.
Level-5 also had two pages laid out for The Snack World, an upcoming cross-media role-playing title. Five characters were discussed in more detail, including Chap, the protagonist. Most characters are named after some form of food, like Mayone, Chap's female friend, and Pepperon, another friend who helps Chap during his adventures. Several new characters were revealed, including a trio of Genies wearing sunglasses, a robot named Pinocchio, and an old man that sells and crafts items named Carbonara — yes, like the pasta dish.
The Snack World is defined as a real-time causal RPG based on food. Famitsu showed off how players can obtain different "brands" of weapons and armour to change the appearance of characters and power them up in battle, along with a few screenshots of real-time gameplay in action. The Snack World isn't due out in Japan until next July on the 3DS however (April for iOS and Android), and there is no timeline for a western release.
Monster Hunter Stories announced three more ride-able monsters, a few helpful NPCs, and a couple of new locations as well. Three monsters, Jinouga (Zinogre in English), Boruborosu (Barroth), and Seruregiosu (Seregios) look particularly ferocious, and more information can be found on them here.
A dragon elder named Maho assists the player, while a man with bushy brows named Gendorasu doesn't trust that the player character can befriend such powerful creatures. Three women — Mafi, Rimon, and Meru — hand out different ranked quests, a staple some Monster Hunter fans might recognize.
Last of all, Famitsu gave us a brief look of three new areas: Aruburakusu Town, Shakudo, and Kuba Desert. Aruburakusu is perhaps one of the main settlements in the game, a sprawling green place with sturdy-looking walls and many shops. Apparently, it was a beautiful city but was recently ravaged by landslides and storms, which effected trade. Players wishing to travel to and from Aruburakusu will be happy to learn that Shakudo functions as a relay point for hunters heading out on quests. Steep cliffs protect the camp sight from monster attacks. Last is Kuba Desert, a zone full of powerful monsters to tame and kill.
It all looks very promising, but once again there is no word on Monster Hunter Stories leaving Japan just yet.
Famitsu also ran a guide of sorts for Etrian Odyssey V this week, including a breakdown of the developers' suggested party compositions, locations of tough enemies, and favourite classes. We covered Famitsu's review of the game last week, but there was an interesting tidbit of information we pulled from an interview with the game's character designer, Himukai-san. He stated that this time around, all the character art came after designing the races, classes, locations and culture of the world, unlike past iterations. He hopes this will help players be more immersed in the game.
There were only two downloadable titles this week: Covered in Chicks and Super Robo Mouse. Both titles cost only 300 yen, and both received pretty poor reviews from Famitsu's lineup of critics. Covered in Chicks is a type of action game where the players slingshot baby chicks to cover an area and earn points. One reviewer praised the game by stating ""I love the visuals of the seemingly never-ending plump baby chicks scattered throughout the game! There are a ton of different baby chicks with humorous designs and collecting them is a lot of fun." However, the title received a middling 7/7/8/7 for a total of 29/40 — quite low for a Famitsu review.
We reviewed Super Robo Mouse and scored it 3/10. Famitsu liked it a bit better but not by much: 6/5/6/6 for a total of 23/40. One reviewer, named Yoshida, stated: "The premise is simple: operate a robotic mouse through various levels, gathering cheese while avoiding obstacles, so that's nice. As you progress, new gimmicks appear. That being said, in spite of some of the maps being quite large, there is no way of seeing the full map at a given time, and one death means that you lose all of your cheese, thus I feel that the game isn't very well balanced. At 300 yen, the price is right, though."
And that's all for this week! Let us know which game you're more excited for in the comments: Lady Layton, The Snack World, or Monster Hunter Stories.
Thanks to Thomas Schinas for translating, and Laura Lee for solving a few Kanji problems for us!