Category Archives: One-Shots

One-off articles about games, cultural phenomena, anime and anything else that isn’t getting the Cover Game treatment.

Senran Kagura Reflexions: Shinobi Intimacy

Here in the West, we’re all thoroughly familiar with the idea of furthering your enjoyment of a game by purchasing additional merchandise to celebrate your love of it.

Depending on the game, we might get action figures, posters, comics, books, soundtrack CDs… but rarely something “extra” in the original medium, unless a sequel comes along, or perhaps some DLC.

One thing that Japanese developers and publishers like to do — and which we’re seeing increasing numbers of localised for English-speaking audiences — is produce a “fandisc” for a popular work. And while the idea may seem self-explanatory, I’ve seen plenty of examples of people who don’t quite “get” it.

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Reflections on PlayStation Vita

At the time of writing, Sony has just announced that production of the PlayStation Vita will be ending in 2019, with no plans for a successor.

This follows news from earlier this year that we’re counting down the days until the last Western physical Vita release, with many of the last releases coming in limited form from boutique publishers such as Limited Run Games and Special Reserve.

With all that in mind, I think it’s about time we looked back over this remarkable and vastly underappreciated system’s life… and celebrated the things it did really, really well.

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Lily’s Night Off: The Visual Novel, Condensed, Polished to a Fine Sheen

It’s always a genuine pleasure to see a developer refine and improve their craft — particularly when it’s obvious how much time, effort and passion they put into their work.

Anyone who follows Lily series developer Kyuppin on Twitter — or indeed, anyone who read my previous coverage of Lily’s Day Off — will know he is a great example of a creator who is absolutely brimming with enthusiasm for his craft. The road to release for Lily’s Night Off was paved with earnest solicitations for feedback, assurances that fans interested in the strictly limited physical merchandise would get their hands on some quality products… and what came across an honest to goodness love for the art of writing, game development and design.

So… how did Lily’s Night Off end up, then? Was all that passion and enthusiasm worth it?

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SNK Heroines: Fighting is Fun

I’ve tried numerous times to “get into” fighting games over the years with varying amounts of success.

Back in the SNES era, I had a good time with the original Street Fighter II and managed to beat it with most of the characters — but my skills have gotten severely rusty since then. Beyond that, my main contact with the genre has primarily been the Dead or Alive series, which I enjoyed for a combination of its cast of beautiful people and its enjoyably fluid, reasonably accessible action.

But I’d always find myself hitting a wall. I’d never be able to pull off impressive combos, I’d struggle to reliably trigger special moves and I’d have difficulty understanding the underlying strategy that is fundamental to the fighting game experience as a whole. Oh, what to do, what to do?

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The Importance of Preservation

In case you missed the news, one of the biggest and most long-running sources for emulators and ROM files on the Internet, EmuParadise, has announced that it is undergoing some changes.

Specifically, the site will no longer be providing games for people to download free of charge; it will be continuing to maintain its database of emulators and hosting its community features, but the main draw for many — the extensive catalogue of ROMs for a variety of systems — has gone away, with every download link now leading to a page which states “this game is unavailable”.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is emphatically a bad thing. But let’s talk about it anyway.

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Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God – A Mysterious and Fragrant Dungeon

Japan’s most commonly seen take on the popular roguelike RPG subgenre — typically referred to as “Mystery Dungeon” games after the Chunsoft series that cemented the formula — is a little different from how we tackle our dungeon-delving here in the West.

Mystery Dungeon-style games have been developed by a wide variety of companies over the years, and the formula is straightforward and versatile enough that it’s been applied to all manner of franchises ranging from Pokemon to Etrian Odyssey as well as a number of original creations.

Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God from Compile Heart and Idea Factory takes Compile’s venerable Madou Monogatari series — that which ultimately begat the much more well known Puyo Puyo puzzle empire — and reimagines it for the Mystery Dungeon age. The result is an accessible and enjoyable game that is a great introduction to this style of RPG.

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Mario Tennis Aces: Some First Impressions

I’m not a big sports game guy, but I’ve always had a lot of time for Nintendo’s takes on tennis and golf.

The Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis in particular stole many hours of my life back in the day — as well as again a little more recently, I must confess — so I was rather excited to check out the Nintendo Switch incarnation of the series.

Among other things, the new game promised a return to something I had particularly liked about the aforementioned Game Boy Color version: a substantial single-player mode. So it’s that we’ll be focusing on today as I talk about my first impressions of the game.

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