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
A common criticism raised by people who have arbitrarily decided for one reason or another that they are “anti-Nintendo” is that the company relies too much on rehashing old ideas, particularly when it comes to its “big” franchises.
This is, of course, nonsense, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the company’s flagship Super Mario series. The portly plumber’s past few adventures have included a simple but enjoyable mobile game that eschews gacha nonsense in favour of accessible mechanics, a full-on construction kit with online functionality, a vast but highly accessible, level-based 3D platform adventure with the option to play in cooperative multiplayer and a challenging 2D platform adventure later expanded with an even more difficult set of levels. And this is to say nothing of how the series has continually reinvented itself over the years.
Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch continues Mario’s proud tradition of starring in an enormously varied series of games that cater to the tastes of both casual and hardcore gamers alike. And it’s one of his best games to date.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Super Mario Odyssey
It’s quite peculiar, when you think about it — an awful lot of what are now regarded as Nintendo’s best games initially appeared on what turned out to be one of its most commercially underperforming systems: the dear old Wii U.
Given that games like Mario Kart 8 were universally well-received on the Wii U, it’s not altogether surprising that Nintendo would want to take the time to port them to a platform like the Switch, which has already absolutely crushed its predecessor in terms of sales.
And while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t a radical reinvention of its source material, it provides enough improvements over the original experience to make it a worthwhile purchase. Not to mention the prospect of having rather more people to play against!
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Xenoblade Chronicles 2’s main cast runs the gamut from spunky, optimistic youths to a few rather more reserved characters.
Mòrag and her Blade Brighid (Meleph and Kagutsuchi in the Japanese original) fall into this latter category, both offering their own distinctive take on being the “detached voice of reason” in most situations.
Both of them are interesting characters in their own right, so let’s take a closer look at both today.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Mòrag and Brighid
Want my money? Release a game in a niche genre like puzzler or shoot ’em up at retail rather than digital-only. Increase your chances further by making my first ever waifu one of its mascots.
That was seriously all it took to get me interested in Soldam: Drop, Connect, Erase, a puzzle game from City Connection and Dispatch Games for Nintendo Switch. So it’s kind of fortunate that the game actually turned out to be highly enjoyable, too.
If your life has been sadly lacking in fruit-popping fairies lately, then this is one you’ll want to add to your library.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Soldam
While the Xeno series has, from its outset, always been about imaginative takes on worldbuilding, the Xenoblade subseries in particular has placed a strong emphasis on this.
Indeed, as we’ve already explored, the very reason the first Xenoblade Chronicles exists at all is because series creator Tetsuya Takahashi thought it would be cool to have a game set atop the bodies of two gigantic, frozen gods. The concept was subsequently fleshed out into the divide between the Bionis and the Mechonis, and the rest is history.
Xenoblade Chronicles X subsequently provided a somewhat different take on worldbuilding, providing us with a huge, seamless and geographically diverse planet to explore at our own pace. But Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is closer in concept to the first in the series, albeit with a few twists of its own.
Continue reading Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Titanic World
Splatoon was not only a great game, it represented Nintendo successfully giving a rather pointed middle finger to everyone who thought it relied too much on its old franchises.
Despite being on the Wii U, one of Nintendo’s least successful pieces of hardware, the game went on to perform extremely well worldwide, proving popular in both its native Japan and the rest of the world. By the end of December 2017, it had sold around 4.91 million copies — a pretty healthy proportion of the console’s entire user base, which stood at a little under 14 million as of December 2016. That means approximately one in every three Wii U owners had a copy.
A new generation of hardware was an ideal opportunity to explore the franchise further. And with the Switch performing much better in terms of sales than its predecessor pretty much from launch onwards, more people than ever before would be able to enjoy the experience of being a kid, then a squid, then a kid, then…
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Splatoon 2 (Part 1 – Single Player)