The original Groove Coaster, which released on iOS in 2011, was a revelation. It was an accessible yet challenging rhythm game that made excellent use of its touchscreen control method — and which beautifully demonstrated how a completely abstract aesthetic can be just as thrilling and enjoyable as a detailed, realistic one.
While the series isn’t as well-known today as it was during the initial fever for it when it first appeared on the scene, it’s been quietly rumbling along for a decade at this point, taking in several sequels for both mobile phones and arcades, a Steam release for PC in 2018 and, towards the end of 2019, a special Switch version subtitled Wai Wai Party!!!!
At fifty quid, Groove Coaster Wai Wai Party!!!! may look a tad pricey for a downloadable game to the casual observer, and I must confess I’d put off checking it out for far longer than I should have because of this. But having been generously given some eShop credit as a leaving present from my old job, I figured it was high time I gave it a look for myself. So let’s explore it together!
One of the best things about Nippon Ichi Software is the company’s willingness to take some risks and put out some highly creative, artistic titles alongside its longstanding cash cow franchises.
A reliable source of these fascinating “B-tier Nippon Ichi” titles is designer Yu Mizokami who, to date, has given us the Yomawari series of horror games and contributed to the excellent (and perpetually overlooked) Lapis x Labyrinth. Now he’s back once again with a brand new but equally stylish title: Mad Rat Dead, which aims to blend rhythm action with 2D platforming.
Both are genres that demand committed, attentive players with an eye for detail and a willingness to put in some practice. But can these two styles of game work together? Let’s take a closer look.
I love Nippon Ichi Software. Over the years they’ve provided some fantastic games, and they rarely stick to what’s “safe”; their games are, in many cases, some of the most joyfully experimental, mechanically rich titles out there.
A great example is new release Mad Rat Dead, which combines electro swing-fuelled rhythm action with tricky platforming, a surprisingly dark narrative and a colourful, punky aesthetic. It’s a lot of fun, but looks like being a pretty stiff challenge in the long term!
When the Senran Kagura series first launched, I’m not sure anyone could have quite predicted the trajectory it would take.
While some fans lament the fact that the series has deviated somewhat from its original course of “cool female ninjas fight youma, also there are breasts and bums”, I can’t say I’m the slightest bit sorry for the existence of games like Senran Kagura Bon Appétit (also known as Dekamori: Senran Kagura in Japan).
It’s a game that bills itself as a “hyper busty cooking battle”, and gives us the opportunity to see that enormous cast of delightful characters in a rather different context to normal. What’s not to like?
Once upon a time, Activision was not the bloated mess of a money-hungry corporate behemoth it is now. Well, it was slightly less of one, anyway.
The key difference between the Activision of now and the Activision of then is that the latter was much more willing to take significant risks on games that were as much a work of art as they were a piece of interactive entertainment.
One of the best examples of this practice — and one of Activision’s best games, full stop — is Master of the Lamps, one of the earliest ever music games and a spectacular example of what the Atari 8-bit was capable of in the hands of talented programmers.
If your entire list consisted of Project Gotham Racing games, you just about scrape a passing grade. If you remembered to mention Metropolis Street Racer, take five bonus marks. Including any Geometry Wars games in there (except Geometry Wars 3, which wasn’t them) gets you an additional five marks. Remembering The Club exists gets you a gold star — and hold that thought, we’ll definitely come back to that one.
If Boom Boom Rocket was anywhere in your list, however, you get exclusive membership into the Cool People Club. Benefits include never being able to get a small selection of classical music out of your head, the constant desire to tap your foot any time you see a fireworks display, and optional free hugs. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on…
As regular listeners of The MoeGamer Podcast will know, I greatly enjoy music games, but I’ve never had a chance to play the Taiko no Tatsujin series to date.
Well, I figured, it’s probably time I rectified that situation, isn’t it? Various installments in the series are often held up as all-time classics in the genre, after all. Plus it’s hard to resist that super-cute artwork — which, if you didn’t know, is the inimitable work of Yukiko Yoko, wife of the man who brought the world the Nier series. How’s that for a weird-ass twist?
So it was with some excitement that I downloaded the newly released demo of Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun, one of two parallel games which mark the first time the series has ever officially come to Europe. And… well, read on.