If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve indulged in a visual novel or two in your time. Perhaps they’re even a primary form of entertainment for you.
Those of you who have explored the medium to some extent have doubtless discovered that there isn’t really any such thing as a “typical” visual novel — some, like Dharker Studio’s Negligee, are effectively short stories designed to be enjoyed over the course of no more than a couple of hours, even if they have multiple endings or routes. Others, like the wonderful Grisaia and Fate/stay night, can take a hundred hours or more to see through to completion.
Sometimes, you want the experience of a visual novel’s approach to interactive multimedia storytelling without having to devote a significant proportion of your life to enjoying it. Sometimes you want something that will just entertain you for an evening but still give you the sense that you’ve “completed” something. Sometimes a game like Lily’s Day Off is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Continue reading Lily’s Day Off: The Visual Novel, Condensed
Later this week, we’re going to take a closer look at Inti Creates’ excellent Blaster Master Zero for Switch and 3DS. So it’s only fitting that we devote a Waifu Wednesday to its heroine.
Blaster Master as a whole actually has rather more detailed lore than you might expect for… well, for something with a title like Blaster Master, and Eve has played an important role in the series’ backstory from the beginning.
However, she wasn’t directly “seen” until the novelisation of Blaster Master by Peter Lerangis (writing under the pen name of A. L. Singer) that formed part of the Worlds of Power series that novelised a number of popular NES games. And then she was completely reimagined for Blaster Master Zero anyway, which had the scope to make a lot more of its narrative context than the NES original did.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Eve
A real highlight of Rance 5D is the amount of time you get to spend with Athena 2.0.
Utterly devoted to her master, but in a completely different way to the genuine feelings Sill holds for Rance, this rather peculiar artificial lifeform is a reliable source of comedy, cuteness and, more often than not, erotic scenes.
She’s definitely a memorable character for sure, and her interactions with Rance, Sill and the rest of the cast form an important part of Rance 5D as a whole.
(There’s a disappointing lack of Athena fanart around the Internet, so there’s a couple of mildly NSFW images from the games after the jump; consider yourself warned!)
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Athena 2.0
You’ve almost certainly played Zoo Keeper at one point or another over the years.
Originally developed as a Web-based game by Tokyo-based animation studio Robot Communications, Zoo Keeper was subsequently ported by developer-publisher Success to a variety of platforms over the years, including Nintendo DS, 3DS, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Android and PlayStation 2.
The latter of these, inexplicably rebranded to the even more generic-sounding Zoo Puzzle (or, more accurately, the questionably punctuated Zoo “Puzzle”) in Europe by publisher 505 GameStreet, is the one we’re primarily concerned with today.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Zoo Puzzle
Many Japanese video game, anime and manga enthusiasts have probably considered learning the native language of their favourite entertainment at some point… but it’s a daunting prospect.
The fact you have to learn two new phonetic alphabets (hiragana and katakana) plus a whole swathe of pictograms (kanji) that represent various concepts or parts of speech means that it’s not a simple case of just jumping in and learning new words for things. You have to learn a completely new way of reading and writing, too.
The potential rewards are great, though, since learning Japanese allows you to access a whole host of entertainment that doesn’t get localised. And with the region-free nature of most modern computer and gaming systems coupled with international Internet shopping, importing games, DVDs, Blu-Rays and manga is trivially easy today.
So where do you start? Well, there are all sorts of ways you can tackle this challenge, but the new iOS and Android-based Japanese course from free language learning organisation Duolingo is as good a place as any to get your studies underway.
Continue reading Duolingo: A Daily Way to Practice Your Japanese
Granblue Fantasy is filled with an enormous variety of awesome characters, most of whom are playable characters that can be drawn in the gacha.
From the very outset, though, you have two faithful companions who never leave your side: the protagonist’s feisty baby dragon-type thing Vyrn, and Lyria, the latter of whom in particular is a big reason I find myself continually drawn back to the game.
While initially appearing to be the same sort of “mysterious young girl” character seen in a wide variety of Japanese role-playing games over the years — and particularly in mobile-social RPGs such as Granblue Fantasy and its peers — Lyria quickly distinguishes herself as a thoroughly pleasant character to have around, making her an ideal companion for you, the player, as you proceed on your journey around this fantasy world.
Continue reading Granblue Fantasy: Spotlight on Lyria
Since starting to play Fate/Grand Order, I’ve cleared the prologue story chapter and moved into the next Singularity… but from thereon I haven’t made a great deal of progress in the narrative.
The reason for this is that I’m finding Fate/GO’s core battle gameplay to be so enormously appealing and enjoyable that I’ve been having a blast doing nothing but the daily quests. These are a series of narrative-free challenges of varying difficulty set up to provide you with an easy way to acquire experience-yielding cards for fusion, currency to pay for various character powerups, mana prisms to produce bundles of helpful items, or simply to test your skills.
It’s testament to Fate/GO’s excellent mechanics that “the daily grind” isn’t a chore, and is instead an interesting and varied way to try out varied party combinations from day to day.
Continue reading Fate/GO: The Joy of the Grind