What do you mean it sounds a bit like “Initial D”? Completely coincidental, I’m sure.
Inertial Drift is a brand new arcade racer with an unusual but highly effective twin-stick control scheme. It’s a ton of fun that channels some serious ’90s energy, and proof if proof were needed that indie devs are on point when it comes to resurrecting supposedly “dead” game genres.
Good morning! I’m here bright and early today to share some exciting news with you, fresh out of the 2020 Tokyo Game Show and courtesy of the lovely folks at PQube and Inti Creates.
The original Gal*Gun — the direct prequel to Gal*Gun Double Peace, and a game which was never previously released in the West — is finally coming to English-speaking audiences in 2021, as part of the series’ 10th anniversary celebrations. This newly remastered version, known as Gal*Gun Returns, will be released on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC via Steam. PlayStation 4 is, quite understandably, being left out in the cold, presumably due to Sony’s amorphous and nonsensical content policies with regard to sexually provocative content.
This is exciting news! So let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from the newly localised version.
As such, I was immediately interested when PQube announced its upcoming racer Inertial Drift, developed by an outfit known as Level 91 Entertainment. This game promised a ’90s style aesthetic, exaggerated arcadey racing action… and what sounded like a rather unusual control scheme.
How exactly does a twin-stick racing game work anyway? I fired up the Inertial Drift Sunset Prologue interactive demo to find out.
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards I’ve devised in collaboration with the community to celebrate the sorts of things that never get celebrated in end-of-year roundups! Find out more here — and feel free to leave a suggestion on that post if you have any good ideas!
We’re all about narrative-centric games here, as you know, with many a visual novel and plot-heavy RPG having been explored in great detail to date!
Regular commenter ASD wants to know which characters had a particularly interesting, satisfying or otherwise noteworthy arc from the games and visual novels I’ve played and covered in the last year. Who went on a personal journey and discovered things about themselves as a person over the course of the game’s complete runtime?
Quite a few, as it happens, but one in particular stands out in my mind when I think back over the year gone by.
Despite PQube’s excellent Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa not being a romance-centric visual novel, it has no shortage of characters — both male and female — designed to be very appealing.
My personal favourite from the ensemble cast after completing the whole thing — that is, after finding out all of their respective dirty little secrets, anxieties and woes — was, without a doubt, Yukino Tsubaki.
Over the last few years, UK-based outfit PQube Games has become a force to be reckoned with in the localisation and publishing space.
Since its inception in 2009, PQube has brought Western fans a variety of games that might otherwise have never made it out of Japan, including Inti Creates’ Gal*Gun Double Peaceand Gal*Gun 2, Kadokawa Games’ Root Letterand Red Entertainment’s Our World is Ended; they also played a key role in popularising and expanding the audiences of titles such as Nitroplus’ classic visual novel Steins;Gateand Arc System Works’ anime fighting series BlazBlue.
It’s a company serious about what it does, in other words — and so when I heard it was developing its own game for the first time, I couldn’t help but take notice. That game, Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa, is finally here, so let’s take a closer look.
Who doesn’t love a good girl? That, it seems, is the angle that Yuno Hayase, valued member of game developer Judgement 7 alongside her sister Asano, is going for.
Throughout the early hours of visual novel Our World is Ended, Yuno represents a source of relentless positivity and optimism. She’s always there to encourage protagonist Reiji and her comrades in Judgement 7, whether the situation is simply enduring a hot day or fleeing for their lives from mysterious men in black.
But, unsurprisingly, there’s a bit more going on beneath the surface than her airheaded first impressions might suggest. Make that a lot more.
Immortality or eternal life is often depicted in fiction as some sort of grand, ultimate goal — both for heroes and villains under various circumstances.
Normally, achieving such a lofty ambition involves any combination of magical power, epic quests, battles with mighty gods and/or fairies, but here in boring old reality we’re actually much closer to achieving that goal than you might think — albeit in a rather more mundane manner.
It all depends on your definition of “mortality” and “life”, and that’s one of the more interesting subjects that Our World is Ended explores over the course of its complete runtime.
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.
Even among the already niche-interest community of Japanese video games, visual novels tend not to get a ton of hype about them… at least here in the West.
That’s why when a new one comes along and its localisers are confident enough to refer to it as “a new masterpiece of narrative visual novel storytelling”, it’s probably worth taking notice. Of course, it’s pure marketing-speak, but it also demonstrates a certain amount of faith in the product — and perhaps a track record of the game being well-received back in its native territory.
Is Red Entertainment’s Our World is Ended, also known as 俺達の世界わ終っている (Ore-tachi no Sekai wa Owatteiru) worthy of the descriptor “masterpiece”? Only one way to find out!