Tag Archives: PC

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland – Tradition, Modernity and Belief in Oneself

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As our exploration of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland comes to a close, it’s time to contemplate the game’s narrative component.

As we talked about when we looked at the game’s overall structureAtelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland is somewhat more non-linear than previous installments in the series. There’s a core linear progression based around Rorona’s assignments, but the bulk of the narrative content comes from the wide variety of optional events you can enjoy with the ensemble cast.

Between all those events, you get a good sense of what sort of place Arland is — and who Rorona and her friends really are. So let’s take a closer look!

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Kero Blaster: Amphibious Assault

Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya is an extremely talented developer with a keen eye for what made older games truly enduring.

His most well-known work Cave Story is quite rightly held up as a shining example of the open-structure 2D platformer done right — and thanks to its numerous rereleases over the years, can be played on a wide variety of systems.

But don’t sleep on Kero Blaster, a very different but equally magnificent love letter to classic old-school gameplay that, like Cave Story, can now be enjoyed on a variety of different platforms, including Windows PC, iOS devices, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

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nail’d: Look Out Below

I love a good racing game. And, while the definition of “good racing game” may vary from person to person, in my case that means “ridiculous, physically improbable and probably fatal things happening in realistic-looking environments”.

I have no interest in an accurate simulation of what it’s like to drive a Rover Metro around Donington Park circa 1987, but present me with the opportunity to fling myself off the side of a quarry on a motorbike going over 200 miles per hour while I admire the ruins of ancient Greece passing majestically by beneath me, and I am 100% there.

As you may have surmised, nail’d falls very comfortably and firmly into this latter category.

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Assault Android Cactus: Shooting for the S+

I remember coming across Assault Android Cactus for the first time: it was back in 2013, when I was still working on USgamer, and I was headed for EGX, or the Eurogamer Expo as it used to be known.

My boss Jaz Rignall suggested that I might want to check out this game he’d heard a bit about, and put me in contact with the developer. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it; if I’m perfectly honest, I was expecting some sort of fairly forgettable indie fare, but I trusted Jaz’s judgement. He’d been around in the games industry even longer than me, after all, so he knew his stuff.

I was right to trust his judgement. Assault Android Cactus ended up being my favourite thing I saw at EGX that year, and it’s remained a consistent favourite of mine ever since.

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Taito Essentials: The Electric Yo-Yo

One of the nice things about the two Taito Legends compilations on PS2, Xbox and PC (and the separate PSP release, which acts as a kind of “best of” compilation containing elements of both) is that it includes both well-known games and more obscure affairs.

One such example of the latter is The Electric Yo-Yo, an unusual Taito America game from 1982 that is so obscure that it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page (shock!). If Giant Bomb’s rather bare-bones page on the game is to be believed, it seems that it wasn’t all that well-received back in the day — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in MoeGamer’s lifetime, it’s that it’s always worth considering something on its own merits, devoid of its original context and popular reception.

And y’know what? I kinda like The Electric Yo-Yo. I mean, sure, it’s kind of infuriating and I’ve hurled some deeply offensive language at it during my time with it… but I still kinda like it.

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Our World is Ended: First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

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A common theme explored throughout the visual novel medium in general is the idea of people not being quite what they appear at first glance.

The reason for this is mostly a practical one: the very nature of the visual novel medium makes deep dives into multifaceted, layered characters a viable thing for creators to explore. Enthusiasts of visual novels are already accustomed to the medium’s slow pace and relatively limited interactivity compared to games with a stronger emphasis on their mechanical components, so writers and developers are more than happy to allow us the opportunity to get to know the main cast extremely intimately.

That doesn’t mean those first impressions the characters set don’t matter, mind you. On the contrary, they are extremely important for setting expectations as to how those characters will behave and interact — and then, in some cases, subverting rather than confirming those expectations. Let’s take a look at how Our World is Ended’s cast presents itself in the early hours of the game as the narrative is getting underway.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2

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Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.

All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.

If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Old Meets New

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In 2011, Sonic turned 20. 1991 was a big year for the blue blur: he had his first ever public appearance in Sega’s arcade title Rad Mobile, then later in the year thrilled console gamers on both 8- and 16-bit Sega platforms with his first full adventures.

Naturally, such a significant anniversary needed to be celebrated — particularly since poor old Sonic had put up with plenty of resistance from press, public and even his own fans over the years. But how to go about it in a way that would please as many people as possible — or at least attempt to?

By acknowledging both his past and present, of course. Enter Sonic Generations.

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Sunday Shooting: Minus Zero

While there’s much to be said for a traditional shoot ’em up in which you simply blast everything while trying not to get blasted in return, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy something a bit different.

Triangle Service’s Minus Zero, part of the Shooting Love. 200X collection, is a great example. Consisting entirely of “lock-on” shooting and a nifty invincibility gimmick, it’s a highly enjoyable game that is great for a quick fix of making things explode should you feel the need — a single game is done and dusted in a matter of minutes, even if you can clear the whole thing!

Today, you can enjoy it either as part of the Shooting Love. 200X compilation on Xbox 360 (which is not region-free in its physical incarnation, but is available via the Games On Demand download platform in North America and Europe) or on PC via its Steam release.

New Game Plus: End of Summer – Atelier Rorona DX #12

Summer’s drawing to a close in Arland just as it’s starting to get nice and warm for springtime here in the UK.

Today our brave little alchemist takes on her toughest challenge yet: dealing with a comic misunderstanding involving a gentleman friend and her parents! Oh no!

She also does a bit of alchemy and indulges in the usual Puni abuse. She does still have a job to do, after all…