Let’s get one thing out of the way up front, because it seems to be a common point of confusion if Steam reviews are anything to go by.
The Winged Sakura series is not the same as the Sakura series. The Sakura series is a sprawling range of ecchi and hentai visual novels with a distinctive anime-inspired art style, developed by Western indie group Winged Cloud. Meanwhile, the Winged Sakura series is, at the time of writing, a trilogy of three disparate games with a shared cast, a (different) distinctive anime art style, this time developed by Winged Sakura Games, also known as one-man studio and BCIT graduate Hong Dang (plus freelancers).
To put it another way, if you’re one of those people who sees a new game with Sakura in the title and thinks “oh no, another Sakura game” or makes other similar assumptions, note that Winged Sakura: Endless Dream is nothing to do with those games, despite similarities in both its title and the name of its developer. It’s also really rather good.
Clear? All right then. Let’s continue.
Continue reading Winged Sakura: Endless Dream – Dungeons and Defenses
Roguelikes have been around for many years now, but in recent years we’ve seen an explosion in popularity of more accessible games that present a friendlier face to this notoriously obtuse genre.
Well-received Western indie titles such as Spelunky, Rogue Legacy, Dungeons of Dredmor, FTL and numerous others helped popularise (and, some may argue, dilute) the roguelike genre. At the same time, games such as One Way Heroics and the Mystery Dungeon series helped develop the genre in a distinctively Japanese direction.
But this development isn’t quite as recent as you might think. In fact, we’ve had accessible console-style roguelikes since the 16-bit era, though many may not have been aware of “roguelike” as a genre at the time. And a great — if particularly punishing — example can be found in the form of Sega’s Fatal Labyrinth (aka Shi no Meikyuu: Labyrinth of Death, no relation to Compile Heart’s MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death) for Mega Drive.
Continue reading Mega Drive Essentials: Fatal Labyrinth
I made a throwaway comment to a friend a while back that I wanted to check out more of Nippon Ichi’s games.
This was partly due to some past positive experiences with Disgaea back in the PS2 days, an enjoyable bit of time spent with the surprisingly tragic The Witch and the Hundred Knight as well as a great deal of enjoyment of products NIS had contributed to, such as the early Hyperdimension Neptunia games.
Zip forward to the time of writing (Editor’s Note: 2013… and this is a game I’d like to cover in more detail in the future!) and I’m thoroughly engrossed in one NIS offering in particular: a PSP game from the team behind Disgaea. And, boy, does its heritage show.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2013 as part of the site’s regular Swords and Zippers column on JRPGs. It has been edited and republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From the Archives: Go, Unlosing Ranger!
Given that there are now three different versions of One Way Heroics in the wild, the question on your lips will doubtless be “which one is best”?
It’s not an easy question to answer definitively, so what I’ll do in this piece is outline what each version offers along with the benefits and drawbacks (if any) that come with each incarnation of this peculiar and enjoyable game.
Make no mistake, One Way Heroics is well worth your time in one form or another, but read on for some information that might help you make a decision as to which one to try… or which one to try first!
Continue reading One Way Heroics: Which Version to Play?
Unlike many other roguelikes, which tend to focus on mechanical complexity and the emergent narrative of each play session, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics has a plot.
The original One Way Heroics and its Plus expansion had a narrative, too, but their more recent counterpart has expanded on it considerably to provide an enjoyable degree of context and motivation for the many journeys you’ll make over the course of your time with the game.
Let’s take a look at some of the main themes of the game and how they’re explored. Continue reading One Way Heroics: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics — and indeed its illustrious predecessor — is unique in the Mystery Dungeon series in that it’s not confined to dungeons.
Indeed, the fact that the majority of the game is set above ground on a continuously scrolling world map of the kind you might see in a Dragon Quest game even makes it pretty distinctive in the roguelike genre and all its offshoots.
So how exactly does that affect the gameplay, if at all? Let’s take a closer look at the game’s mechanics to find out how it all works.
Continue reading One Way Heroics: Mystery Dungeon, Forest, Plains and Mountains
The concept of a “point of no return” is a common one in RPGs: it normally refers to the point immediately before the game’s finale where advancing the plot any further will put you on a collision course with the ending.
In unusual roguelike One Way Heroics, however, every step you take is its own point of no return, since with every step you take the Darkness (or, in its new incarnation Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics, the Shine Raid) advances, obliterating the world behind you one column of tiles at a time.
Essentially the game is a cross between a typical roguelike and those anxiety-inducing levels from Super Mario World where the screen kept scrolling even if you didn’t move. Which makes it an altogether unique experience, and one well worth exploring.
So let’s do just that!
Continue reading One Way Heroics: Introduction and History