A good dungeon crawler has two aspects it has to nail in order to be successful: combat and exploration.
Japanese takes on the genre often tend to incorporate a strong sense of narrative and characterisation to the experience, too — and certainly MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is no exception to this — but at its core, a dungeon crawler is about 1) navigating your way through a series of increasingly complicated mazes, and 2) kicking the snot out of any monsters who appear to block your path.
We’ve already talked about MeiQ’s interesting and unconventional combat, progression and equipment mechanics. So now let’s take a closer look at its approach to dungeon design.
Continue reading MeiQ: Building a Better Dungeon
A common criticism of arcade-style shoot ’em ups by people who don’t understand that the main “point” of them is to replay them over and over for high scores is that they’re “too short” or “don’t have enough content”.
This is one criticism that most certainly cannot be levelled at Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours, the most recent installment in the long-running shmup series. Featuring a full port of the super-widescreen 32:9 arcade version of Dariusburst Another Chronicle EX — including its 3,000+ stage “Chronicle Mode”, which is communally unlocked by players from all over the world — as well as an all-original 200+ stage “Chronicle Saviours” (usually shortened to just “CS”) mode designed specifically for 16:9 displays and a single player, Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours most certainly isn’t a game you can accuse of being “over in 20 minutes”.
It’s also one of the most expensive shoot ’em ups available in the modern market, even compared to the relatively premium prices that Cave’s back catalogue has historically commanded. But is it worth splashing out on? Spoiler: yes; but read on if you’d like to know more.
Continue reading Shmup Essentials: Dariusburst Chronicle Saviours
If you have a PSP (or Vita) then you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the magnificent Corpse Party from Team GrisGris, localised by XSEED. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written in 2012, you can now also get a version of the game for 3DS and PC, though note that these are slightly different to the version under discussion here.)
While initially resembling a top-down SNES-era role-playing game more than a traditional visual novel, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a game where story — and, more importantly, atmosphere – is king.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party
Kadokawa Games’ Root Letter, first in their new Kadokawa Games Mystery series, quietly snuck out onto the market at the end of October, just four months after its Japanese release.
The proposed series is set to be a collection of visual novel-cum-adventure game hybrids for PlayStation platforms that feature real-world locations, artwork from Love Plus character designer Mino Taro and a cast of fictional actresses who will play different roles in each game. The plan, presumably, is to create a series of adventures that, while distinct in their own right in terms of story, will have numerous thematic and stylistic similarities throughout that make them feel like “part of a set”.
So far, all we have to judge the series on is its inaugural installment Root Letter, but fortunately it’s a very strong start indeed, eminently worthy of your time if you’ve ever enjoyed the Ace Attorney or Danganronpa games.
Continue reading Root Letter: Eleven Letters, Eight People, One Truth
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