Category Archives: Mini-Features

DEPA★PAKU: Department Store Munching

Japanese artist ryokuchamichi, also known as Green Tea Area, leads a double life.

Not only do they draw rather lovely ecchi art with a particular focus on squishy plump girls and silky sheer hosiery (see their somewhat NSFW Twitter), they also have a talent for paying homage to the classic 8-bit home console era with their own original games.

At the time of writing, we’ve already seen the SameGame-inspired endless puzzler Dig Dig Minenow, get ready for DEPA★PAKU, a platformer that feels even more like a lost NES title.

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Dig Dig Mine: Cake or Death

Don’t you love it when you find a happy little bonus; something unexpected on top of something you already like?

I encountered one of my own this week. I’ve been following a bunch of Japanese and Korean erotic artists on Twitter recently — partly to satisfy my bottomless libido and partly to drown out the endless negativity of Western Twitter — and I was delighted to discover that one of them is not only into drawing pretty girls flashing their pants at you (NSFW, obviously), but also into making loving homages to retro-style games.

That artist’s name? Albe– wait, no, that’s something else. That artist’s name is @ryokuchamichi, also known as “Green Tea Area”, and the first of their games I’d like to share with you is Dig Dig Mine, which you can snag your own copy of for a mere ¥200 (about $2) over on Booth, a Pixiv offshoot focusing on independently developed digital art of various forms — including video games.

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Just Ignore Them: Ah, Real Monsters

Those who keep an eye on the indie sphere (or indeed those of you who have been reading MoeGamer recently) may well already be familiar with one-man development team Stranga Games.

Just Ignore Them is his debut game, and it’s clearly something of a passion project. While in many ways it’s noticeably clunkier than its successors My Big Sister and Red Bow — both mechanically and narratively — it’s still a worthwhile adventure, and one that Stranga has striven to improve with the lessons learned from his subsequent releases.

So let’s take a look at the console release published by Ratalaika Games, which at the time of writing represents the most up-to-date version of the game on offer. Bring a torch.

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Red Bow: Older Than Water, Stubborn as Stone

One-man development team Stranga Games has been quietly establishing himself as one to watch in the world of independently developed psychological horror games, presented in gorgeous lo-fi pixel art.

At the time of writing, Red Bow is the latest in a series of games with a loose thematic link to them, following Just Ignore Them and My Big Sister. And, in keeping with the way Stranga apparently likes to do things, we once again have another short-form, thought-provoking adventure that provides ruminations on the subject of mortality, explored through interactions with the monstrous.

The world of Stranga Games is not a happy one… but it’s certainly a fascinating one. Let’s descend into the darkness once again.

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My Big Sister: Blood-Red Pixels

I’m not sure exactly when a lo-fi pixel art aesthetic came to be associated with horror games, but I’ve always rather liked the juxtaposition between supposedly “primitive” visuals and the primal emotion that is fear.

We can probably trace the whole thing back to classic NES survival horror RPG Sweet Home, but it seems to have become particularly popular with the indie sphere in recent years, with titles such as Lone Survivor, Home and various rereleases of Corpse Party all fully embracing the “retro horror” aesthetic.

My Big Sister, a pixel art horror adventure for all the current major platforms, follows this mould, but does a few interesting things all of its own. So let’s take a step into the darkness and see what’s going on!

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Kamiko: Fighting for the Transient World

Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura is a modern Japanese independent developer who deserves a lot more attention.

His Fairune series provides a fascinating twist on the item-based action RPG formula, emphasising puzzles of traversal rather than all-action combat.

And, as it turns out, his game Kamiko does precisely the opposite… while still maintaining that distinctive Skipmore magic. Let’s take a closer look.

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Fairune Origin and Blast: Beginning and End

Fairune and Fairune 2 were originally available as separate games for mobile devices and Nintendo 3DS, but in more recent releases for Switch and Windows PC, you’ll find them packaged as part of the Fairune Collection alongside two pleasant little extras: Fairune Origin and Fairune Blast.

The two titles are fairly self-explanatory — Fairune Origin is essentially the prototype for what would become the first Fairune, while Fairune Blast is a shoot ’em up themed after the series — but they’re both well worth playing in their own right.

Plus they’re pretty interesting in that they essentially represent both the genesis of and the conclusion to the series as a whole — well, that is unless creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura decides to give us any more, of course — so let’s take a closer look at both.

Continue reading Fairune Origin and Blast: Beginning and End