The original Groove Coaster, which released on iOS in 2011, was a revelation. It was an accessible yet challenging rhythm game that made excellent use of its touchscreen control method — and which beautifully demonstrated how a completely abstract aesthetic can be just as thrilling and enjoyable as a detailed, realistic one.
While the series isn’t as well-known today as it was during the initial fever for it when it first appeared on the scene, it’s been quietly rumbling along for a decade at this point, taking in several sequels for both mobile phones and arcades, a Steam release for PC in 2018 and, towards the end of 2019, a special Switch version subtitled Wai Wai Party!!!!
At fifty quid, Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!! may look a tad pricey for a downloadable game to the casual observer, and I must confess I’d put off checking it out for far longer than I should have because of this. But having been generously given some eShop credit as a leaving present from my old job, I figured it was high time I gave it a look for myself. So let’s explore it together!
Continue reading Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!!: Rockin’ Out With the VTubers and Vocaloids
As I type this, one of my longstanding gaming prayers has just been answered: Jaleco’s Rod Land, one of my favourite games of all time, has just got an Arcade Archives release on Switch and PlayStation 4. This is, to my knowledge, the first time the original arcade game has ever been rereleased on any platform. It even lets you start straight at the “sequel” set of levels if you want to.
I’ve written about Rod Land before — as well as showing the excellent Atari ST version in the Atari A to Z series — but what I haven’t done is share a personal story about why this game is especially important to me. And why, in retrospect, the first time I encountered it was probably a defining experience for me, not just in terms of gaming, but also in terms of things like self-expression, self-perception, taste and perhaps even a touch of gender identity, too.
So indulge me a moment, dear reader, and I’ll tell you why Rod Land means so much to me.
Continue reading Rod Land: A Personal Story
There’s been a quiet revolution happening in gaming over the course of the last year or so. You won’t read much about it in the mainstream games press, for a variety of reasons, but it’s absolutely been happening.
I’m talking about the growing acceptance of games with adult content on home console platforms. More specifically, Nintendo’s seeming willingness to embrace this side of things considerably more than either of its key rivals in the console business — particularly Sony, who have been notoriously heavy- handed with what content they will and won’t allow on their platforms in the last few years.
While we’re still a way off getting fully uncensored, sexually explicit eroge on the Switch, we can at least enjoy games with a cheeky sense of sexuality and eroticism about them on Switch. And, as I type this, the latest game that falls into this category is Eastasiasoft’s port of the excellent Crawlco Block Knockers by Cosmi Kankei. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Crawlco Block Knockers: Getting Lewd on the Switch
One of the best things about Nippon Ichi Software is the company’s willingness to take some risks and put out some highly creative, artistic titles alongside its longstanding cash cow franchises.
A reliable source of these fascinating “B-tier Nippon Ichi” titles is designer Yu Mizokami who, to date, has given us the Yomawari series of horror games and contributed to the excellent (and perpetually overlooked) Lapis x Labyrinth. Now he’s back once again with a brand new but equally stylish title: Mad Rat Dead, which aims to blend rhythm action with 2D platforming.
Both are genres that demand committed, attentive players with an eye for detail and a willingness to put in some practice. But can these two styles of game work together? Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Mad Rat Dead: Prepare to Die
Good horror, as we’ve previously talked about on The MoeGamer Podcast, is about more than just spooky scary skeletons and gallons of gore. And good modern horror games tend to be a natural evolution of the narrative-centric adventure game genre.
A good example of this is The Coma from Korean developer Devespresso games, which originally released for PC in 2015 before getting a “Recut” version for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch two years later. This is a game that challenges players to solve a seemingly supernatural mystery while on the run from a ruthless killer — and without any means of fighting back.
At the same time, there’s some interesting narrative content designed to get you thinking, too. It’s a fine use of your time this spooky season — so let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading The Coma: Recut – Extracurricular Horror
One of the things I miss the most about eras of gaming gone by is the way that different platforms had their own distinct capabilities — and, by extension, their own distinctive look and feel for their software.
On the flip side, one of the things I enjoy the most about gaming today is the fact that a lot of developers are very keen to pay tribute and homage to these platforms of the past while incorporating modern design philosophies. In many ways, this idea of “enhanced retro” gives us the best of both worlds — the comfort of a classic platform’s familiar aesthetic, coupled with all the things developers and players alike have learned over the course of gaming’s history.
A great example of this at work is Petal Crash, a new puzzle game from Friend & Fairy, published by Freedom Planet developer Galaxy Trail. Let’s take a closer look!
Continue reading Petal Crash: Like the Game Boy Colour Never Left
The mechanical genre that we refer to as “shoot ’em up” actually covers a number of different gameplay styles. And, as with everything else in this world, it displays distinct fashions and trends as the years go by.
Back in the early days of gaming, the fixed shooter was king. Then we moved into the beginning of the horizontally and vertically scrolling age, the former of which in particular flourished throughout the 16-bit home console age. The rise of polygons brought with it a shift to “2.5D”, where 3D graphics were combined with 2D gameplay for added spectacle. And today, many — though not all — shooters focus on the elaborate choreography of the “bullet hell” or danmaku subgenre.
This is an oversimplification, of course, but the fact remains that we see fewer shooters in the style of those from the late 16-bit and early 32-bit eras than we used to. Which is why Rigid Force Redux, a recent Nintendo Switch and Xbox One release from German developer com8com1 Software, was such a pleasure to explore.
Continue reading Rigid Force Redux: An R-Type By Any Other Name
Nintendo’s widely beloved Super NES continued to get new games long after the Sony PlayStation and its rivals had brought in the “next generation” of gaming in 1994.
As you might expect, many of these titles from the latter days of the 16-bit era have very much flown under the radar over the years, and a lot of them have become expensive rarities that only those with deep pockets can hope to collect.
Incantation, a 1996 release by Titus, and a game that subsequently fell into the hands of the Interplay brand, is one such example, with carts commanding three-figure prices on the collectors’ market. As of the time of writing, you no longer need to pay through the nose for it, though, since you can find a modern rerelease of it on Interplay Collection 1 for the Evercade retro gaming handheld. Let’s take a look!
Continue reading Incantation: Having a Wizard Time
The concept of “gaming” wasn’t always about immersing yourself in RPGs that last for several hundred hours, or about hurling abuse at random strangers online.
No; in the dim and distant past, before electronics dominated nearly every aspect of our lives, it was about gathering around a table with friends and doing various things with bits of wood, glass beads and playing cards that could, in most cases, be summarised as “tidying up”. And once the digital age first dawned for consumers in the late ’70s, it was about gathering around your family television to play digital recreations of those tabletop pursuits on your woodgrain Atari Video Computer System.
51 Worldwide Games, also known as Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics, marks a delightful return to both of these bygone eras. And in the process, it becomes a true essential for anyone’s Nintendo Switch library.
Continue reading 51 Worldwide Games: The Good Old Days
Although at the time of writing a lot of people are super-excited for the impending PC release of Phantasy Star Online 2, the series as a whole isn’t anywhere near as well-known as the heavy-hitting classics of the RPG genre.
Indeed, Phantasy Star as a whole has always been something of a niche interest series — perhaps in part due to the majority of its “golden age” being released on platforms that were not typically renowned for their role-playing games.
The first game in particular is very interesting to return to, especially when you consider its original release date as a contemporary of the first Final Fantasy and the second Dragon Quest. And the Sega Ages version for Nintendo Switch is the definitive way to experience it — so let’s explore that now!
Continue reading Sega Ages Phantasy Star – Classic Dungeon Crawling, Modern Conveniences