Tag Archives: dungeon crawler

The MoeGamer Awards: Saving the World with Only Girls

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

Today’s category comes to us from SoriasSire, who left some great ideas in the comments of this post just like you (yes, you!) should go and do right now. SoriasSire is also a longtime supporter of the site and Japanese gaming in general, so a hearty thank-you for your ongoing support!

It’s a popular misconception among people who don’t know any better (or do any research) that we have a shortage of badass female lead characters in video games, but nothing could be further from the truth — particularly in Japanese gaming. This award aims to celebrate an awesome example of an all-female ensemble cast that we’ve explored over the course of 2017.

And the winner is…

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Rance VI: An Epic for Adults

Whew. Sorry for the somewhat delayed appearance of this article, but as you will know if you’re a regular reader, I like to beat at the very least the main story of games before I write about them in detail.

Rance VI’s main story is a substantial, ambitious affair — and there’s a whole bunch of post-game stuff to do once you’ve cleared it, too, if you really want to ensure you’ve got the most out of the game. Beating it to my satisfaction before penning this article took a little longer than anticipated!

In fact, Rance VI as a complete package is a substantial, ambitious affair, not just from a narrative perspective. There’s a whole lot to talk about, so the best way to go about this is going to be to tackle it a bit at a time. Make sure you visit the toilet before we set off… this is going to be a long journey!

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Waifu Wednesday: Ist

Dungeon Travelers 2 is one of the best dungeon-crawlers of all time — I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite RPGs I’ve ever played.

A significant part of the reason for why I regard it so fondly is its large cast of memorable female characters, each of whom offer something unique both in mechanical terms and in how they contribute to the overall “party dynamic” with their characterisation.

It’s hard to pick a favourite from such a consistently loveable cast, but somewhere near the top of the list for me is Ist.

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What’s in the Box: Mary Skelter: Nightmares

Another recent release and a recent acquisition is Idea Factory’s Mary Skelter: Nightmares, an intriguing-sounding dungeon crawler featuring interpretations of numerous fairy tale characters and some cool mechanics.

Once again, this is a game I’d like to spend a full month giving the full Cover Game treatment, so today we’re primarily focused on what’s in the limited edition box. Idea Factory’s limited editions have typically been some of my favourite to date — helped along rather by the fact I’m yet to play a game by them that I haven’t enjoyed immensely — and so I was excited to get my hands on this one.

So without further ado, let’s take a look inside.

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MeiQ: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

Dungeon crawlers aren’t historically associated with having particularly strong stories, perhaps largely due to their origins as mechanics-heavy games with player-created parties.

A number of recent Japanese takes on the subgenre — including, among others, Demon Gaze, Operation Abyss and Dungeon Travelers 2 — have proven it is possible to blend mechanically sound, deeply absorbing dungeon crawling with a strong sense of narrative, however.

MeiQ is the latest game to follow this trend, featuring an imaginative steampunk-cum-sci-fi tale revolving around a strong, all-female central cast of characters.

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MeiQ: Building a Better Dungeon

A good dungeon crawler has two aspects it has to nail in order to be successful: combat and exploration.

Japanese takes on the genre often tend to incorporate a strong sense of narrative and characterisation to the experience, too — and certainly MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is no exception to this — but at its core, a dungeon crawler is about 1) navigating your way through a series of increasingly complicated mazes, and 2) kicking the snot out of any monsters who appear to block your path.

We’ve already talked about MeiQ’s interesting and unconventional combat, progression and equipment mechanics. So now let’s take a closer look at its approach to dungeon design.

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MeiQ: Girls and Guardians

By attempting to provide an accessible dungeon crawler experience, MeiQ has put itself in an interesting position.

Too much mechanical depth and it will alienate the very people it’s hoping to attract. But not enough depth and the hardcore gridder enthusiasts will tire of it long before things get interesting. How to approach this, then?

Through a combination of approaches, as it happens, and the result is both effective at what it does and surprisingly distinct in a subgenre that is sometimes accused of taking a bit of a “cookie-cutter” approach.

Let’s take a look at the game’s mechanics in more detail.

Continue reading MeiQ: Girls and Guardians