All posts by Pete Davison

Former games journo (GamePro, USgamer) and expert on all those Japanese games and visual novels the mainstream press likes to go "ew, pretty girls" at. I write things at great length.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse

There’s something really satisfying about the title “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d have had on my bookshelf as a kid — part of a series I’d have almost certainly wanted to collect an entire set of. Remember books? They were pretty all right.

Anyway, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third installment in the Shantae series, marking a few fundamental shake-ups to the game structure we’ve come to expect by this point, an interesting new narrative, absolutely beautiful pixel art and some of Jake Kaufman’s finest soundtrack work.

Oh, and it’s also one of the slickest, most satisfying titles in the series in terms of gameplay, too. If you only play one Shantae game, play this one… although I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that you should probably actually play all of them. In order. One after the other. As soon as possible.

Continue reading Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse

Advertisements

Lily’s Day Off: The Visual Novel, Condensed

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve indulged in a visual novel or two in your time. Perhaps they’re even a primary form of entertainment for you.

Those of you who have explored the medium to some extent have doubtless discovered that there isn’t really any such thing as a “typical” visual novel — some, like Dharker Studio’s Negligee, are effectively short stories designed to be enjoyed over the course of no more than a couple of hours, even if they have multiple endings or routes. Others, like the wonderful Grisaia and Fate/stay night, can take a hundred hours or more to see through to completion.

Sometimes, you want the experience of a visual novel’s approach to interactive multimedia storytelling without having to devote a significant proportion of your life to enjoying it. Sometimes you want something that will just entertain you for an evening but still give you the sense that you’ve “completed” something. Sometimes a game like Lily’s Day Off is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Continue reading Lily’s Day Off: The Visual Novel, Condensed

Waifu Wednesday: Rottytops

I’m not sure what it is about characters that… aren’t quite human, but there’s something incredibly appealing about them.

I’m not the only person to feel this way, either, as evidenced by the popularity of everything from catgirls (a relatively tame variant on humanity) to the full-on monstergirls found in something like the Monster Musume anime and its ilk.

Zombies aren’t traditionally something thought of as particularly sexy… but there have been a few successful attempts to combine physical attractiveness with rotting flesh over the years. One of these can be found in the Shantae series in the form of Rottytops, a recurring character who has been present since the first game.

Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Rottytops

Game Boy Essentials: Mario Tennis

With the latest installment in the Mario Tennis series coming soon to Nintendo Switch at the time of writing, I thought it would be a good opportunity to revisit one of my favourite versions.

It’s not often that a handheld version of a game can honestly claim to be superior to its counterpart on TV-based consoles — and this was something that occurred even less frequently back in the days where the 8-bit Game Boy Color and the 64-bit Nintendo 64 coexisted happily alongside one another. But 2000’s Mario Tennis pulled it off with a spectacularly ambitious, interesting and ballsy handheld version that, for solo play at least, ran rings around its big brother.

It achieved this primarily by not even attempting to be a “port” of the rather multiplayer-centric N64 version — not that this would have been possible given the disparity in technological capabilities between the two platforms — but instead providing a unique, solo-focused experience. One that is still worth playing today — and which Mario Tennis Aces’ single-player Adventure Mode has undoubtedly taken some inspiration from.

Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Mario Tennis

Game Boy Essentials: Game Boy Gallery

Nintendo has always been good at handheld games — even long before its Game Boy and subsequent platforms were a thing.

Those of you as old as me will doubtless remember the Game & Watch series, a range of 60 handheld electronic LCD games created by Nintendo and released between 1980 and 1991. These dinky little devices perfectly encapsulated what makes a “good handheld game” — something that is easy to learn but tough to master, and which you can either while away a few minutes with or engross yourself in for several hours thanks to their inherently addictive, rewarding quality.

The Game & Watch series was designed by Gunpei Yokoi, who later went on to design 1989’s astronomically popular Game Boy. It’s only appropriate, then, that a number of the games that really kickstarted Nintendo’s efforts in the handheld space went on to get their own adaptations on that platform, beginning with the Europe-only release of Game Boy Gallery in 1995.

Continue reading Game Boy Essentials: Game Boy Gallery

MoeGamerTV: MoeGamer on YouTube!

Did you know MoeGamer has a YouTube channel? You can find it (and subscribe) here!

Over on the channel, you’ll find video versions of many MoeGamer articles, Let’s Plays of games — including some I haven’t written about here yet — as well as the MoeGamer Podcast.

If you have a moment to support the channel, please drop by, watch a few videos and leave some likes and comments. And if you’d like to stay up to date with my work on YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel.

Hit the jump for some recent videos.

Continue reading MoeGamerTV: MoeGamer on YouTube!

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations

An interesting aspect of the Shantae series is how its presentation and execution has evolved over time.

While the first game, being released in the twilight years of the 8-bit Game Boy Color, represented the diminutive handheld being pushed to its absolute limits, the two subsequent installments in particular made a specific effort to be “modern retro” titles — games that emulated experiences from systems of the past while providing modern-day conveniences.

Risky’s Revenge, which we’re concerned with today, very much has its sights set on the 16-bit era. And it explores this concept with a clear knowledge and understanding of not only the classic 16-bit consoles, but also the earlier 16-bit home computers.

Continue reading Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations