Category Archives: Systems

Articles about the best, worst, most interesting, most overlooked and most underappreciated games for specific systems: titles that collectors will want in their library!

Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary: The Rockford Files

Boulder Dash is an all-time classic game from the early microcomputer era.

First releasing on Atari 8-bit computers in 1984, it has enjoyed numerous ports, sequels, spinoffs and unofficial level packs for a wide variety of platforms, with the latest at the time of writing being the Nintendo Switch release of Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary. The official website has a nicely comprehensive history for you to enjoy at your leisure.

The astute among you will note that there are more than 30 years between 1984 and 2020. That’s because this port in particular also goes back a few years, too. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Boulder Dash 30th Anniversary: The Rockford Files

Gunbarich: It’s Flippin’ Psikyonoid

2001’s Gunbarich was one of Psikyo’s last games before they merged with X-Nauts in 2002 — and the last title in the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo collection for Nintendo Switch.

It wasn’t one of their last shoot ’em ups, however, because despite technically being part of the Gunbird series in the loosest possible sense (it has the word “Gun” in the title and also features a cutesified version of recurring Gunbird mascot character Marion the witch) it’s not actually a shoot ’em up at all.

Nope; Gunbarich represents Psikyo turning its hand to that most venerable of genres: the ol’ bat and ball. Let’s take a closer look!

Continue reading Gunbarich: It’s Flippin’ Psikyonoid

Gunbird 2: Peak Psikyo

Speak to anyone familiar with Psikyo’s work, and doubtless Gunbird 2 will come up sooner rather than later.

It’s probably one of the most fondly regarded entries in the company’s back catalogue, and for various reasons. Not only is it a solid shoot ’em up in its own right, but it also had an excellent Dreamcast release in collaboration with Capcom, featuring Morrigan from Darkstalkers as a guest character.

The Nintendo Switch version that comes as part of the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo collection sadly lacks this latter aspect — presumably due to licensing issues — but otherwise allows a whole new audience to enjoy this classic blaster. Let’s take a look!

Continue reading Gunbird 2: Peak Psikyo

Gunbird: The ’90s Anime Shoot ‘Em Up

In conversation with casual shoot ’em up fans I’m acquainted with, I’ve come to learn that Gunbird is one of Psikyo’s most fondly regarded series.

It’s not hard to see why, either. Although the first Gunbird game predates many of Psikyo’s other works, it features a lot of their most appealing elements. We have the multiple endings and strong replayability of Samurai Aces. We have the strong degree of physicality of the Strikers series. We have the overblown narratives of Sol Divide and Dragon Blaze. And the whole thing is topped off with a ton of ’90s anime charm.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Gunbird: The ’90s Anime Shoot ‘Em Up

SeaBed: What You Leave Behind

I reviewed this visual novel over at Nintendo Life — please go support my work over there, then join me back here to delve into the narrative in more detail!


SeaBed from Paleontology Soft is a kinetic novel that first released in 2015. It was localised for PC two years later, much to the delight of Western yuri fans, and in early 2020, it got released on Nintendo Switch, too.

It is, not to put too fine a point on it, an absolutely masterful work of fiction. It’s peaceful and calming yet melancholy, and the evocative, descriptive writing gives the whole experience a pleasantly mature feeling that is a far cry from noisy, chaotic anime hijinks. Not that there’s anything wrong with noisy, chaotic anime hijinks, mind, but sometimes you just want a bit of quiet contemplation to mull over.

So let’s mull it over together, because there’s a lot to talk about. There are likely to be some spoilers ahead, but I’ll try and keep major ones to a minimum, because you should experience this for yourself!

Continue reading SeaBed: What You Leave Behind

Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon – Blasting Goodbye

Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon (“Sengoku Cannon” hereafter) is a game of farewells.

It bids a fond farewell to the Samurai Aces series, which is how Psikyo began as a developer. It waves goodbye to Psikyo’s run of arcade-centric shoot ’em ups, being designed specifically for the PSP platform. And, in some ways, as a title developed by X-Nauts after they took over Psikyo in 2002, it’s something of a sayounara to Psikyo themselves, too.

Some of the snobbier shoot ’em up fans out there would also argue that Sengoku Cannon also bids adieu to Psikyo-branded games being “good”, but I’ve actually found quite a lot to like about this curious, clunky shooter. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Samurai Aces Episode III: Sengoku Cannon – Blasting Goodbye

Tengai: The Return of the Samurai Aces

If there’s one thing that becomes clear from looking at Psikyo’s shoot ’em up output over the years, it’s that they love a sequel.

The Strikers 1945 series saw two sequels, for example: one which built on the original formula, and another which transplanted the action into the modern day. They all played fairly similarly to one another in terms of their core mechanics, though each with their own unique features to enjoy.

The Samurai Aces series shook things up a bit more with each new installment. So after the straightforward, no-nonsense, enjoyable fun of the original Samurai Aces, we come to the second episode: Tengai. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading Tengai: The Return of the Samurai Aces