Tag Archives: presentation

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm – A Step Forward

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In 2006, a year after Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny, Gust released Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in Japan; it would be another year after that before Western players would get their hands on it.

Atelier games are a fixture in developer Gust’s calendar; each of the duologies and trilogies that make up the complete franchise have enjoyed annual installments, and indeed the first Atelier Iris’ release in Japan in 2004 marked the beginning of a streak of yearly releases for the series as a whole that lasted until 2017. The company, of course, made up for the lack of an Atelier game in 2018 by releasing three in 2019, but, well, that’s a story for another day.

What’s kind of remarkable is that despite this non-stop release schedule, each Atelier game, even within the same subseries, feels noticeably distinct from the last. And this is particularly apparent when it comes to Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm. So let’s look at how this moves the series forwards.

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Super Castlevania IV: The Quintessential SNES Game

One thing I feel like we’ve lost somewhat over the procession of console generations we’ve lived through is a feeling of “uniqueness” for each platform.

Sure, Nintendo still does its own thing and its games are immediately recognisable, but I’m talking more about a very clear look, sound and feel of games on a specific platform; partially a product of the hardware itself, and partially that of the companies specifically choosing to produce work for that platform in particular.

I hadn’t really spent a lot of time with Super Castlevania IV for Super NES until recently, but within about five minutes of delving into it in earnest thanks to the Castlevania Anniversary Collection for Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC, I’m absolutely convinced that it is the perfect example of what a SNES game really “is”.

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The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 22 – A Crafted World

Happy Monday! Banish those new work week blues with another episode of The MoeGamer Podcast, featuring my fine self and the ever-charming Mr Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels.

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

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Delving into Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush – #2

Okay. Let’s talk about how this game looks, because it’s a real highlight of the experience.

One of the things I really like about the Nintendo of the Wii U and Switch generations in particular is the fact that they’ve demonstrated themselves to not be afraid of experimenting with aesthetics and overall style — though there’s a certain amount of internal consistency there, too.

Specifically, it’s all about Nintendo’s desire to make interactive experiences that are as much “toys” as they are “games”. And Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is a great example of this at work.

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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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Blue Reflection: Kishida’s Pastel Paradise

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Gust’s games are known for having a distinctive aesthetic, but Blue Reflection is one of the company’s most beautifully presented titles.

Offering a combination of high-detail realism in its school scenes coupled with a ton of creativity for the action that unfolds in the manifestation of the collective unconscious known as “The Common”, it really is a lovely game to look at — perhaps not the best-performing game there is, no, but a lovely game to look at nonetheless.

A big part of that is down to the work of Mel Kishida, a frequent Gust collaborator, and an artist with a very distinctive style all of his own.

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