Back in the early days of gaming, it wasn’t at all unusual to find games built around a single, static mechanic that simply required players to show increasing levels of mastery over it.
There was a certain degree of “make your own fun” to these games; you might try to think up challenges to impose on yourself, or keep track of your high scores, or perhaps compete against a friend to see who truly was best.
These days, there tends to be an expectation that even “arcadey” games have a certain amount of depth to them. But titles like Kawaii Deathu Desu, developed by Brazilian outfit Pippin Games, demonstrate that sometimes all you need are two buttons and some twitchy fingers — plus some cute girls never hurt, either. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the great things about modern gaming is the sheer diversity of experiences you can have from one moment to the next.
If you’re in the mood for hacking and slashing through hordes of enemies as the cute girl personification of a video games console, gaming has you covered. If you fancy taking photos of spooky scary ghosts in a creepy old mansion, well, there’s a game for that, too — several, in fact.
But what about if you just fancy chilling out in a nice quiet coffee shop, enjoying the company of a few good friends and leaving all the troubles of the world outside for an hour or two? Sure, you could pop down your local Costa if you can face leaving the house… or you could settle in for an evening with Coffee Talk, a thoroughly pleasant story-centric game from Indonesian developer Toge Productions.
Fairune is a game that, at first glance, could be mistaken for an homage to the original The Legend of Zelda, the early Ys games or perhaps even Hydlide if you’re a real hipster.
It’s a top-down open-world game presented in chunky pixel art, in which you defeat enemies by simply running into them. You collect items which allow you to access new areas or provide you with new abilities, and your ultimate aim is to explore the whole world thoroughly until you locate three plot-critical doohickeys, at which point you descend into the final dungeon, rescue the three equally plot-critical fairies, kick the snot out of the Big Bad and then relax, safe in the knowledge of a Job Well Done.
However, it does just a few things a little bit differently to what you might expect from that description. And those little differences are enough to make it a unique experience well worth your time.
Every now and then, I like to trawl through Nintendo’s various digital marketplaces to see if anything interesting catches my eye.
The most bounteous sources of unusual and cheap Nintendo- based entertainment to date have been the 3DS eShop, which brought us games such as the highly unusual but thoroughly compelling Puzzle Labyrinth, and the Switch’s eShop, which is awash with small-scale indie projects from all over the world.
One that grabbed my attention recently — primarily due to it being on sale for less than what you’d pay for breakfast at Starbucks — was Yōdanji, a game originally released by Kemco for PC, mobile and Switch in 2017, and a self-described “coffee-break roguelike themed after Japanese folklore tales”. I’m in! Let’s take a look.
Mid to late ’80s Taito were good at a lot of things, but one thing they were particularly good at was iterating on an established formula and bringing it more “up to date”.
Probably the most famous example of this is Arkanoid, a game which took the incredibly simple concept of Atari’s Breakout — hit ball with paddle to destroy bricks, repeat until screen clear or player displays sufficient incompetence — and enhanced it with “enemies”, powerups and a wide variety of different levels.
Well, as Arkanoid was to Breakout, so Volfied was to Qix. At least this time around they ripped off their own game…
You might think the “roguelike” subgenre is oversaturated (it is). You might think the term “roguelike” is widely misused (it is). But that’s not to say there aren’t still good examples of games with roguelike elements being released.
One such example is Xenon Valkyrie+, a game originally developed by Spanish coder Daniel Fernandez Chavez (aka “Diabolical Mind”) and enhanced for its PlayStation 4 and Vita release by solo French developer Fabrice Breton of Cowcat Games. If that pairing sounds familiar, you may recall we looked at their previous collaboration Riddled Corpses EXa while back.
Riddled Corpses EX impressed me a great deal, so when Limited Run Games offered a physical release of Xenon Valkyrie+ a few months ago, I thought I’d jump on it and see what else this dream team could come up with.
There’s something really satisfying about the title “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d have had on my bookshelf as a kid — part of a series I’d have almost certainly wanted to collect an entire set of. Remember books? They were pretty all right.
Anyway, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third installment in the Shantae series, marking a few fundamental shake-ups to the game structure we’ve come to expect by this point, an interesting new narrative, absolutely beautiful pixel art and some of Jake Kaufman’s finest soundtrack work.
Oh, and it’s also one of the slickest, most satisfying titles in the series in terms of gameplay, too. If you only play one Shantae game, play this one… although I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that you should probably actually play all of them. In order. One after the other. As soon as possible.