The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!
This award was suggested by Krystallina.
It’s a disappointingly frequent stereotype to brand Japan as “weird” simply because many of the things in its society and media don’t conform to what we’ve come to think of as Western norms.
That said, sometimes our friends in the East do come up with characters that are clearly designed to be outlandishly strange, surreal and weird — and when they accomplish that successfully (preferably without crossing that fine line into Sharon from Accounts-style “Woo! Look, I’ve put cheese up my nose and a turkey leg down my pants, I’m so random! Teeheehee!”) it’s worth celebrating. Because those characters can end up being very memorable.
There were plenty of possible choices for this one, but in the end, there’s one I just had to give it to. If you’ll pardon the expression.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Weirdest Character
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 EX a 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.
Continue reading Xenon Valkyrie+: 16-Bit Procedural Platforming
I’ve tried numerous times to “get into” fighting games over the years with varying amounts of success.
Back in the SNES era, I had a good time with the original Street Fighter II and managed to beat it with most of the characters — but my skills have gotten severely rusty since then. Beyond that, my main contact with the genre has primarily been the Dead or Alive series, which I enjoyed for a combination of its cast of beautiful people and its enjoyably fluid, reasonably accessible action.
But I’d always find myself hitting a wall. I’d never be able to pull off impressive combos, I’d struggle to reliably trigger special moves and I’d have difficulty understanding the underlying strategy that is fundamental to the fighting game experience as a whole. Oh, what to do, what to do?
Continue reading SNK Heroines: Fighting is Fun
You know sometimes you just see a game and think “I’m going to enjoy this?” That was very much me and Riddled Corpses EX.
There was something about the game’s excellent use of convincing 16-bit style pixel art and the suggestion that it would incorporate two of my favourite shmup subgenres — bullet hell and twin-stick — that made me pretty sure I was going to have a good time with it. And I most certainly did.
If you’re yet to check out this enjoyable blastathon, either in its original PC incarnation on Steam or its all-new “EX” version on PlayStation 4/Vita cross-buy and Xbox One, then grab yourself a sturdy controller, strap yourself in and get ready to perforate some cadavers.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Riddled Corpses EX
Japanese games have a number of different ways of handling narratives from a first-person perspective.
The typical “visual novel” approach allows the player to ride along inside the protagonist’s head, being privy to their innermost thoughts as well as the things they say out loud. But in other instances where this approach has not been used for stylistic purposes — and particularly where a silent or quasi-silent protagonist takes the lead — a companion character is often employed to either speak “for” the protagonist, or to complement them in some way.
Gal*Gun Double Peace featured the delightful Ekoro, who beautifully complemented protagonist Houdai’s bafflement at the situation in which he found himself through dry wit and a touch of sarcasm. And Gal*Gun 2, which features the player themselves as the participant quasi-silent protagonist, has Risu; equally delightful, but in a rather different way.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Risu the Angel
Next month on MoeGamer is all about Gal*Gun 2, but in the meantime I couldn’t resist sneaking a peek in the shiny new limited edition box.
Publisher PQube and its partners at Rice Digital have put out some really nice (and affordable) limited editions over the last couple of years, so I was more than happy to stump up the extra cash for the “Free Hugs” edition of Gal*Gun 2.
Thankfully the new game doesn’t come in quite as obscenely large a box as its predecessor — that had a big wallscroll in it, so it was understandable — but still has a rather tasty set of goodies to enjoy.
Continue reading What’s in the Box: Gal*Gun 2 “Free Hugs” Edition
“The eight soldiers get to attack the wicked terrorists!!”
So ran the promotional blurb on the arcade flyer for SNK’s Shock Troopers, a well-regarded installment in the Neo Geo library developed by Saurus and originally released in 1997 to both home- and arcade-based Neo Geo systems.
This is not by any means a unique setup for a video game, particularly an arcade title from the era, but what makes Shock Troopers truly special is its execution. And its presentation. And, well, everything.
Continue reading Neo Geo Essentials: Shock Troopers