Category Archives: One-Shots

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

Steam’s Inconsistency is Hurting Visual Novels – How We Can Help

Update: 05/08/2020

Steam has reinstated Bokuten after investigation confirmed the issue with the missed (and inaccessible) CGs mentioned below. This article remains relevant, however, because Steam’s treatment of MangaGamer in this incident was totally unacceptable. Original article follows.


Steam is the largest, most well-established PC gaming platform out there. For many gamers, “PC gaming” and “Steam” are pretty much synonymous.

To put it another way, in much the same way that Grandma thinks that Facebook is “the Internet”, there are many people out there who don’t look beyond Steam as a place to buy new games. And while there are perfectly valid reasons to favour Steam — its social features are pretty good, its frequent sales make gaming very affordable and it’s where you’ll find the largest communities for many online games — there are certain parts of the industry that are being treated extremely poorly by the platform.

One of those is the localised Japanese visual novel sector, which frequently finds itself the victim of Valve’s seemingly amorphous content policies. So it’s time we looked at what we, as a community, can perhaps do a bit differently.

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Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue: A Bold New Take on Arcade Racing

I love me a slippery-slidy, drift-centric arcade racer, as you’ll know very well if you followed the extensive Ridge Racer Cover Game feature from a while back, or indeed were kind enough to watch my playthrough of Split/Second Velocity on YouTube.

As such, I was immediately interested when PQube announced its upcoming racer Inertial Drift, developed by an outfit known as Level 91 Entertainment. This game promised a ’90s style aesthetic, exaggerated arcadey racing action… and what sounded like a rather unusual control scheme.

How exactly does a twin-stick racing game work anyway? I fired up the Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue interactive demo to find out.

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Summer Loop: The Beach Episode as Existentialist Nightmare

The idea of existentialism is a concept that a lot of people have been brought into contact with through various forms of media — most notably for us in the gaming sphere, Taro Yoko’s masterpieces in the Nier series.

But how much do you really understand about this philosophical concept — and how might it relate to video games and visual novels? These are the things explored by Summer Loop, the third volume in the My Time With Dee Dee series of visual novels, produced by friend of the site Matt Sainsbury from DigitallyDownloaded.net.

Matt was kind enough to once again provide a copy of the game for me to explore — if you’re interested in trying it for yourself, you can find it right here!

Continue reading Summer Loop: The Beach Episode as Existentialist Nightmare

My Time With Dee Dee, Vol. 2: Learning to Love the Male Gaze

Those of you who have been following for a while may recall that friend of the site Matt Sainsbury from Digitally Downloaded has been beavering away at a series of visual novels based on his site mascot for a while now — you can read about the first one here.

I finally got around to making some time for the second volume — and a look at the third one will be following shortly! — so I figured it’s high time we talk about it. Because, much like its predecessor, it does an excellent job of raising some interesting and relevant talking points without becoming preachy about it.

Volume 2, subtitled Meet Lo and Nettie! focuses on the topic of the male gaze, which is a term bandied about so often these days that its original meaning has become somewhat obfuscated. Let’s see if three cute girls can sort that whole mess out, shall we?

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TubeLive: Living the Streamer Dream

There have been a few games released over the course of the last few years that purport to be based around the life of a streamer or YouTuber, and I’ve typically shied away from them.

When Hammerfist, developers of the Deep Space Waifu series, reached out to me and asked me to take a look at their new game based on online video culture, though, I was interested. Hammerfist has a distinctly “punk” attitude towards game development that I rather like — and I was intrigued to see how they would approach this subject matter.

What followed was a rather entertaining game that can be beaten in a couple of hours, but which provides an enjoyable experience along the way. Hit the jump and let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading TubeLive: Living the Streamer Dream

Helltaker: Hell is Sliding Block Puzzles

At the time of writing, a new independently developed game called “Helltaker” is all over social media, with all sorts of people sharing screenshots and fanart.

With that in mind, I decided to give it a look for myself. Turns out it’s a free download for PC, available via Steam. As such, there’s absolutely no risk involved in trying it out at the very least — and if you like it, you have a cool thing to add to your library; if, on the other hand, it’s not for you, you haven’t lost anything.

What did I think? Hmm, mixed feelings if I’m perfectly honest; let’s explore all that a little further, then.

Continue reading Helltaker: Hell is Sliding Block Puzzles

A Hat in Time: Hat the Nipper

Despite what anyone who has ever worked in the teaching profession (including myself) might tell you, children are not inherently evil.

They’re not inherently good either, mind you, and that’s what potentially makes them interesting as characters. Particularly characters in some form of interactive media where you get to explore the consequences of “good” and “bad” behaviour in various contexts.

Among other things, A Hat in Time is a joyful exploration of what it means to be a child. A child who has their own spaceship and is clearly a lot more 1) intelligent and 2) affluent than they might let on, but a child nonetheless. Let’s explore this strange and wonderful world through the eyes of the one and only Hat Kid.

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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon – Enhanced Nostalgia

Part of my intention behind my Delving Into series focusing on Castlevania was to get a solid understanding of the classic franchise before jumping into Koji Igarashi’s Kickstarter-funded Bloodstained project.

While I’m not all the way through the classic games at the time of writing, I do feel like I’m at an adequate point where I can start looking at the two Bloodstained games and be able to analyse their similarities and differences from classic-formula Castlevania.

So let’s begin today with a look at Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, a spinoff title developed by Inti Creates, designed more in the mould of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse than the more recent, post-Symphony of the Night open-structure 2D platformer incarnations.

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Why I Don’t “Review” Games

I have a few things lined up to write about, but I saw an interesting discussion online earlier today, so I thought it would be something worth talking about.

It’s a discussion that seems to have continued in perpetuity ever since the earliest days of gaming media, so regardless of whether you’re reading this at the time of writing or a few years down the line, I suspect it will remain relevant.

I’d like to talk about why I don’t consider myself to “review” games in the traditional manner — and why, from the very beginning here at MoeGamer, I have not made use of any sort of summative system such as percentage scores or star ratings. Let’s talk about that!

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Lonely Mountains: Downhill – Bringing the Outside Inside

For a lot of us, the more “extreme” sports are probably best left in the realm of fantasy, because we’d probably kill ourselves within about five seconds of starting.

I, for example, know that while I am perfectly capable of riding a bike, I would almost certainly be never heard from ever again were you to put me at the summit of a mountain atop a suitable bicycle and encourage me to enjoy a scenic but perilous trail down to the bottom. Which is a shame, because I rather enjoy the peacefulness of being out in nature — the breeze brushing past you, the clear air and the relaxing, soothing sounds of being far from “civilisation”.

Lucky, then, that we have games like Lonely Mountains: Downhill, which allow you to enjoy at least some of that experience from the comfort of your sofa — and without any risk of injuries ranging from grazed knees to catastrophic eruption of ribcage from torso. Let’s take a closer look.

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