My most-played and arguably favourite Nintendo DS game is not a big first-party release from Nintendo, nor is it a title that is talked about particularly frequently in general.
It is, however, a game that everyone who actually played has extremely fond memories of — and with good reason. The trouble is, it’s all too easy to dismiss it as yet another piece of shovelware — something the DS wasn’t exactly short of, particularly later in its lifespan.
I am, of course, referring to Agenda’s 42 All-Time Classics, also known in North America as Clubhouse Games, and in its native Japan as Daredemo Asobi Taizen (loosely translated, Everyone Wants to Play). This is a title that, if you have a Nintendo DS to hand, I strongly recommend adding to your library, because it will keep you and your friends busy for hours.
Continue reading Nintendo DS Essentials: 42 All-Time Classics
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
If you ever wanted to play a game that is clearly Inti Creates “at play”, Mighty Gunvolt Burst on Nintendo Switch and 3DS is emphatically the game for you.
Coming across as a rather wonderful attempt to fling everything at the wall and see what sticks, this NES-style, Mega Man-inspired romp features an impressive degree of customisation, plenty of variety — and, for some, represents an overall better experience than the divisive Mighty No. 9, despite being based around many of the same stages and bosses.
One thing’s for sure: it’s a ton of fun, and if you get a kick out of Inti Creates’ authentic but modern take on retro-style gameplay, you’re going to love this.
Continue reading Mighty Gunvolt Burst: Bringing It All Together
As we’ve already seen, one of Inti Creates’ biggest strengths as a developer is its ability to understand what made the games of the past great while simultaneously updating them with modern conveniences and conventions.
Azure Striker Gunvolt, a relatively new series from the company but one which has already gone on to be popular and well-received, is a great example of this philosophy at work. Adopting a pleasingly chunky but detailed late 16-bit pixel art look and combining it with delicious 2D art, excellent storytelling and a well-crafted world, the game provides a wonderful experience, whether you enjoy it on its original host platform of the 3DS, its port to PC or its most recent incarnation on Nintendo Switch as part of the Azure Striker Gunvolt Striker Pack alongside its sequel.
Let’s take a closer look at where this game from and what makes it tick… or rather buzz, perhaps.
Continue reading Azure Striker Gunvolt: An Electrifying Action Platformer
If you have a PSP (or Vita) then you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the magnificent Corpse Party from Team GrisGris, localised by XSEED. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written in 2012, you can now also get a version of the game for 3DS and PC, though note that these are slightly different to the version under discussion here.)
While initially resembling a top-down SNES-era role-playing game more than a traditional visual novel, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a game where story — and, more importantly, atmosphere – is king.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party
Senran Kagura is one of the most consistently misunderstood series in the entire Japanese gaming canon.
At least part of this is due to the outspoken nature of series creator Kenichiro Takaki who, legend has it, only created the series in the first place because he wanted to see breasts popping out of the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D screen of the Nintendo 3DS, and who is credited with “Righteous Boobage” in every installment’s credit roll.
In a way, this is kind of unfortunate, since it causes a significant number of people — and press outlets — to write the series off as nothing more than cheap fanservice. In reality, however, although the game does include a significant amount of cheeky, overtly sexualised content, it’s a great deal more than titillation, featuring a strong ensemble cast, gameplay mechanics that have evolved, changed and improved between installments — and between different host platforms — and an intriguing unfolding story that draws together elements of Japanese mythology and a more creative, fantastic element of what life as a shinobi might be like in modern-day Japan.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Introduction