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
If you, like me, have been around the mobile gaming block a bit, chances are that you have a certain image in your mind of what Asian free-to-play games look like.
You’re almost certainly picturing energy bars, timers, feathers, coins, gems and an overwhelming array of things to do, all of which seem dead set on distracting you from completing the actual main story of the damn thing.
Well, if you’ve ever felt like this, Pokémon Masters is a refreshingly straightforward breath of fresh air… or at least it is right now at the time of writing, a little after its official launch!
Continue reading Pokémon Masters: Friendly Free-to-Play
A while back, I wrote about how Granblue Fantasy spreads out what would be the “endgame” experience of a more conventional MMO throughout its entire duration. And, unsurprisingly, given the developer the two games has in common, Dragalia Lost works in much the same way.
Dragalia Lost doesn’t have linear progression. Sure, you have a player level, but that’s more a measure of how long and how much you’ve played rather than anything else. And sure, you have character levels — but there are numerous ways to build these up, plus a strong emphasis on building a selection of teams and characters rather than just one “main” group.
The nice thing about the way Dragalia Lost does this — much like Granblue Fantasy also does — is that it provides the fun, mechanical, progression-based aspect of MMOs without one of their most irritating aspects. Let’s take a closer look at what I mean.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: You Don’t Pay My Sub
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
I’d never heard the name “DAOKO” prior to today. After a few hours exploring Nintendo and Cygames’ new mobile offering, I can’t get her damn music out of my head.
Dragalia Lost, a much-awaited new RPG from two of the biggest names in both Japanese and mobile gaming — and featuring an extensive soundtrack mostly comprised of DAOKO tracks — launched its live service this week. While I haven’t really stuck with any mobile games for longer than a few weeks, I’ve had fun with several over the last couple of years — most notably Granblue Fantasy, Fate/Grand Order and Girls’ Frontline — so I thought it would be interesting to check this new one out.
While Dragalia Lost doesn’t do anything especially new and exciting for the genre, the whole thing is executed with such beautiful panache that it’s hard not to like it. So I’ll check it out for the next few weeks at the very least. Read on for some more detailed first impressions.
Continue reading Dragalia Lost: First Impressions
A week later than originally intended, here’s the fourth episode of The MoeGamer Podcast!
We’re a week late because last weekend I’d been struck down by some sort of hideous plague that made me want to go to bed at 2pm in the afternoon and just not get up for most of the weekend. Thankfully that appears to have mostly passed! Stupid summer flu.
Chris unfortunately wasn’t available to join the discussion this week for non-illness-related reasons, so instead I’m joined by a special guest: Joe, host of EriChannel over on Twitch! Hit the jump for the episode and synopsis.
EDIT: The episode is back up under a new YouTube ID! Thanks for your patience and understanding. Hit the jump to watch/listen.
Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 4 – Servant to the Gacha
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
The controversy over microtransactions in full-price triple-A games has been brewing for a few years now, but it finally came to a head with EA’s release of Star Wars Battlefront II.
To recap: Reddit poster “MBMMaverick” was frustrated to discover that he had paid $80 for the game only to find that a favourite character, Darth Vader, was locked behind either an extremely long grind or having to pay further real money for a chance of unlocking him through the game’s loot box system. And with the variable character abilities and other unlockables in the game, this meant that the game most definitely had an element of “pay to win” about it, since those with the cash could simply pay up and get better things with which to dominate other players.
EA’s response became one of the most downvoted Reddit comments of all time, sitting at a mighty -676k points — that’s minus six hundred and seventy-six thousand — at the time of writing. And things didn’t get any better from there.
Continue reading Microtransactions: The Battle Isn’t Over
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