As we’ve discussed on numerous previous occasions, the shoot ’em up genre is a lot more diverse than you might think.
Over the years, we’ve seen this initially straightforward genre blossom into something that encompasses a wide variety of distinct mechanics: the precise navigation of danmaku games, the pattern recognition and twitch reflexes of twin-stick shooters, the emphasis on memorisation and “risk versus reward” of Gradius-style games and plenty more besides.
One of the most interesting ways in which developers have experimented with the genre as a whole is through combining it with other genres. To date we’ve seen attempts to blend it with fighting games (such as the Suguri series), platform games (such as Rabi-Ribi) and even puzzle games. Murasaki, a 2014 release from Japanese doujin circle Katatema, falls into the latter category.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Murasaki
I have a strange relationship with the Nintendo 3DS. I often find myself thinking of it as one of my least favourite gaming systems for numerous reasons… but every so often I’m reminded about the things that make it unique.
Sure, there’s the first-party Nintendo stuff that provides obvious uniqueness, but another aspect of the 3DS that is not discussed nearly as much as it deserves is the amount of interesting, creative and downright weird download-only games buried in the eShop.
Many of these games are published by a company called Circle Entertainment, and they run the gamut from retro-inspired arcade titles to highly creative puzzles and adventures. The subject of today’s piece very much falls into the latter category.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Puzzle Labyrinth
One of the core attractions of a handheld games system is the fact that you can take it anywhere.
While it’s awesome to be able to play deep experiences like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the go, an important aspect of a successful handheld’s library is a selection of simple “pick up and play” games that can while away a few minutes rather than a few hours. If you’re out and about, you don’t necessarily want to get stuck into a sprawling RPG, after all, so it’s good to have something on hand to fire up when you just want to play something.
This corner of the market has been dominated by smartphones and tablets for the past few years. But the Switch is showing it has plenty of solid offerings in this department, too — and best of all, many of these titles don’t have exploitative free-to-play mechanics attached.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: SkyPeace
We’re enjoying a bit of a puzzle game renaissance at the moment.
While we’re not quite at the same level as we were in the 8-, 16- and 32-bit eras, where puzzle games would happily share retail shelf space with 100+ hour RPG epics (Puyo Puyo Tetris aside), we are at least starting to see more and more puzzle games that aren’t free-to-play mobile titles primarily designed to repeatedly part you from your cash rather than providing a well-balanced, fun experience.
One interesting game that may well have passed you by owing to its low price and seemingly low production values is Hell Girls from Taiwanese circle SakuraGame. And you should most definitely give it a look!
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Hell Girls
Any self-respecting gamer knows that if you really want to impress someone with your dexterity and prowess, you don’t fire up a Souls game, you fire up a bullet hell shmup.
Notorious for their screen-filling bullet patterns that seemingly demand superhuman reflexes to navigate, bullet hell (or, to give them their more “proper” name, danmaku) shoot ’em ups are a frightening prospect to get involved with. But you might be surprised at quite how approachable some of them are.
One such example of a danmaku shmup that is both accepting to genre newcomers and monstrously challenging to veterans is Gundemonium Recollection from Japanese doujin circle Platine Dispositif, originally localised for PS3 and PC by Rockin’ Android. It’s a game that isn’t afraid to slap you about a bit, but also a good place to familiarise yourself with some conventions of the genre.
And, well, it’s just a really good game to boot, too.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Gundemonium Recollection
It’s strange to think that just a few years ago, Japanese games on PC were a very unusual sight, being largely limited to adults-only visual novels and occasional localisations of doujin (indie) titles.
One game that really brought Japanese gaming to the PC-gaming masses was EasyGameStation’s Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, an early project for then-fledgling localisation outfit Carpe Fulgur, and a frequent recipient of generously deep discounts in Steam sales over the course of each and every year.
Recettear remains a wonderful game even today, some seven years after it first charmed Western players, and a full ten years after its original Japanese release. So let’s take a closer look at it today!
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular Swords and Zippers column on JRPGs. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From the Archives: Capitalism, Ho!
Steam’s running another Summer Comiket sale full of Japanese doujin games goodness — they’ve actually remembered to promote it this time, though! Here’s a selection of games that are worth exploring.
Check out the articles from last year for more on some of the other games available in the sale: