Category Archives: Articles

All the non-Cover Game articles and features in one place.

Girls’ Frontline: A Closer Look

Last week, we took a first look at the latest moe anthropomorphism mobile game, Girls’ Frontline (or “Gun Ladies”, as my wife calls it).

Since then, the game has officially launched out of open beta and got well underway, so I figured it was worth taking a closer look. With that in mind, I’ve been playing it a whole bunch over the course of the last week or so.

Short version: it’s really fun, it has interesting mechanics and great art and it is fair and generous. Sounds like a winning formula to me!

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Waifu Wednesday: Nanako Tamasaki

A good mainstay of any slice-of-life love story is the “childhood friend” character. And while Gal*Gun 2 isn’t exactly your typical slice-of-life in many ways, heroine Nanako certainly fulfils this role very pleasingly.

Introduced right from the outset as the girl who sits next to you in class, and someone with whom you have a pre-existing friendship, Nanako is a comforting presence for much of the game — but, of course, she has her own interesting narrative arc to follow, too.

Will true love blossom between you and this charming young lady, or is your relationship forever confined to, as Risu puts it, “the childhood friend-zone”? That’s for you to decide!

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PS2 Essentials: Flipnic

One of my favourite things about video games is the possibility to simulate things that have their roots in “reality”, but then extend that simulation to something that would be physically impossible or at least impractical to do.

Flipnic, a 2003 release for PS2 that was originally developed by Sony but, oddly, localised and brought West by Ubi Soft, of all people, takes this approach with pinball. While your average real-world pinball table is… well, roughly table-sized, Flipnic’s “tables”, if it’s even accurate to call them that, are absolutely enormous, frequently gravity-defying and full of contraptions that would make Heath Robinson proud.

It’s a bizarre game and no mistake… but well worth giving a bit of time to, particularly if you reckon yourself as a bit of a pinball wizard.

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Slipstream: The Road to ’80s Arcade Racing Nirvana

OutRun is consistently cited as one of the best, most influential arcade games of all time, so it’s surprising Sega hasn’t done more with it over the years.

And speaking more broadly, I’ve seen enough people bemoaning the lack of arcade-style racing games in today’s landscape that it’s even more surprising more developers haven’t attempted to capitalise on this apparent hunger for old-school, no-frills racing.

It was with this in mind that, on January 16 2016, when my friend Chris (of MoeGamer Podcast fame) noted that “here’s a Kickstarter worth $5“, I didn’t hesitate to fling the aforementioned five bucks in the direction of Slipstream, a humble project from solo Brazilian developer Sandro Luiz de Paula, aka ansdor — someone who seemingly wanted nothing more than to make a new OutRun.

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Girls’ Frontline: Moe Anthropomorphism Goes Bang-Bang!

Moe anthropomorphism — aka “girls who are also [insert things that are very much not girls here]” — is a popular trend, particularly in the mobile and free-to-play gaming markets.

We’ve seen a number of success stories in this “genre” of popular entertainment over the last few years, with probably the most famous example being Kadokawa Games’ Kantai Collection, which went on to spawn anime, manga and all manner of other merchandise.

It’s unsurprising, then, that other developers remain keen to capitalise on the public’s apparent hunger for “girls who are also things that are not girls”. One of the latest games to cater to this demand is Girls’ Frontline by Chinese outfit MICA, brought West by Sunborn Games. Since a fair few people on my Twitter feed have been playing this recently, I thought I’d check it out for myself…

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Waifu Wednesday: Risu the Angel

Japanese games have a number of different ways of handling narratives from a first-person perspective.

The typical “visual novel” approach allows the player to ride along inside the protagonist’s head, being privy to their innermost thoughts as well as the things they say out loud. But in other instances where this approach has not been used for stylistic purposes — and particularly where a silent or quasi-silent protagonist takes the lead — a companion character is often employed to either speak “for” the protagonist, or to complement them in some way.

Gal*Gun Double Peace featured the delightful Ekoro, who beautifully complemented protagonist Houdai’s bafflement at the situation in which he found himself through dry wit and a touch of sarcasm. And Gal*Gun 2, which features the player themselves as the participant quasi-silent protagonist, has Risu; equally delightful, but in a rather different way.

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Puzzler Essentials: Puzzle Labyrinth

I have a strange relationship with the Nintendo 3DS. I often find myself thinking of it as one of my least favourite gaming systems for numerous reasons… but every so often I’m reminded about the things that make it unique.

Sure, there’s the first-party Nintendo stuff that provides obvious uniqueness, but another aspect of the 3DS that is not discussed nearly as much as it deserves is the amount of interesting, creative and downright weird download-only games buried in the eShop.

Many of these games are published by a company called Circle Entertainment, and they run the gamut from retro-inspired arcade titles to highly creative puzzles and adventures. The subject of today’s piece very much falls into the latter category.

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