Critics of popular Asian free-to-play games often joke that those who invest money into their hobbies are “paying money for JPEGs of their favourite characters”.
While obviously a somewhat mean-spirited exaggeration, the truth of the matter is that, barring a few notable exceptions, free-to-play mobile games do tend to eschew flashy technical prowess in favour of a constant barrage of new playable storylines, special events and collaborations with popular franchises. And their players don’t seem to mind this relative lack of “wow factor”; the immensely popular and long-running Granblue Fantasy, for example, is little more than a collection of sluggishly loading HTML pages playing some low bitrate audio in the background, but it shows no sign of slowing down.
With all this in mind, though, wouldn’t it be nice to find a free-to-play game that combined the things people enjoy about this sort of experience with rather higher production values than usual? Well, enter Magicami DX, a game which came out in 2019 back home in Japan, and which has now found itself localised for the browsers and mobile devices of English speakers thanks to adult gaming specialists Nutaku, who you may recall I had a nice chat with a little while back.
Let’s take a first look!
Continue reading Magicami DX: Magical Girls Go Punk
At the time of writing I am, as you’ll well know if you’ve watched any recent videos or read my blog on Patreon, ill.
When I’m ill, I want to do mindless things. And in the world of interactive entertainment, there are few things more mindless than mobile games. So with that in mind, I downloaded Arknights. This is the new release from Azur Lane publisher YoStar, and a game a lot of people are talking about on social media right now.
Then I decided to play CocoPPa Dolls by United Inc. instead. Why? Well, why not?
Continue reading CocoPPa Dolls: I’m a Pretty Princess
I thought I’d sworn off mobile games. But when one comes along that promises a single player-centric experience and boasts talent that previously worked on titles such as Chrono Trigger and Luminous Arc, I pay attention.
I’d actually already had my eye on Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space for a while, since it released in Japan a while back and seemed to be very positively received. Now, it’s finally available in the West, so I thought I’d dip in and see what it was all about.
Read on for my first impressions, based on a couple of hours of play on the recently released Android version.
Continue reading Another Eden: First Look
I don’t play a lot of games on my phone these days, because a lot of them are touchscreen-controlled garbage, bad knockoffs of games that I didn’t really want to play in the first place or microtransaction-infested pits of misery and despair.
However, once in a while a game comes along with none of those issues. A game where you can pay once and just play it; a game where you’ll never see an ad, never be asked to pay again and not be bugged every ten minutes to “rate 5 stars on the App Store”.
And sometimes that game is even good! Here’s Take It Easy, by Ravensburger.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Take It Easy
It’s event time again in Cygames and Nintendo’s Dragalia Lost! If you’ve not played a game like this before… get used to this endless and occasionally exhausting cycle!
The Kindness and Captivity event, which will be running until November 12, concerns a young Sylvan girl who seeks the aid of Euden and the gang in driving the Imperial forces out of her village.
Naturally, things aren’t quite as simple as they first appear, and, as these things tend to go, things culminate in a battle against a rather large and ferocious beastie.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: Kindness and Captivity
So, you decided to give Dragalia Lost a go. A free-to-play mobile game from Nintendo can’t be that scary, can it?
Well, if you’ve never given a game like this a shot before, there’s a surprising amount of depth to the overall affair that might not be immediately apparent. Dragalia Lost does a better job than most at introducing new progression mechanics gradually, but it can still be a little daunting if you’re a newcomer!
With that in mind, I present a selection of advice for those new to the game — particularly if you’re new to free-to-play mobile gacha RPGs in general.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: Making a Solid Start
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