49 days, 7 wayward spirits, and one unforgettable summer of partings and new beginnings.
2019 has been a decent year for visual novels so far. With that statement short of any pertinent examples, I haven’t found many issues with any of the titles I have already finished and covering a wide field of genres and interest, happy to pick up a majority of them. Some more than others, of course. For English speaking audiences, developer Harukaze finally has one of its prolific entries make landfall: Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart or The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart. Receiving some high praise and awards from the country of origin, this is one visual novel that does seem to live up to some of that acclaim.
As someone that enjoys games that don’t always fall into a neat genre category, it is something of a wonder to see what most creators come up with. Up for almost anything that doesn’t completely force to put my ineptitude on display, developer Endless Shirafu takes no such mercy with their title: Akashicforce (∀kashicforce). Being one part puzzle and one part rhythm game, it turns out to be a fun test of reflexes and mental poise rather than outright skill and wit. Lacking heavily in the latter rather than former, maybe my ineptitude will not be such a factor. Just maybe….
Thinking back on 2018, the Japanese indie game scene has been somewhat mute for me. In fact, the only noteworthy title I can remember would be the sandbox action-rpg Hakoniwa Explorer Plus by Suxa (suxamethonium). Looking forward to getting my hands on something just as charming and crazy, pixel puzzle platformer Agartha (and Agartha-S for the Nintendo Switch) seems to be as close to the description as I could get. Hopefully, I won’t be wrong in that assessment…?
Time to let the hairballs fly as some very aerodynamic cats take to the skies.
With 2017 already fulfilling its unspoken promise of delivering a deluge of delectable games I will probably never be able to finish, it does become difficult to limit my commitment or even outright pass up on a particularly interesting find. Smaller projects especially seem to have this hold on me. Lionheart, a visual novel/RPG hybrid developed by doujin circle Shiisanmei is a fine example of one that is engaging, but a joy to come back to between play sessions. Players take on the role of Leon, a young man dreaming to be adventurer. After a chance meeting with a young woman named Maria, she enlisted his unique abilities to explore the Magic Labyrinth, “Libra Corridor.”
Developed by Uzumeya, Enigma is a visual novel that takes place in a world where most of the mainland has been ravaged by mysterious illness. Chester, a young man that happen to contracted the illness find himself washed ashore on a remote island – one that isn’t even apart of any modern map. The only two noteworthy features: a small village unaccepting of those from the outside world and a mysterious forest that is said to devour people. It’s name is Enigma, the very same name of the disease Chester is infected with and now in the terminal stages – his life nearly at its end and this island likely to be his resting place. Are the two somehow connected?
Developed and published by Tenco and localized by Fruitbat Factory, Eiyuu*Senki – The World Conquest is a title that I have been looking forward to for quite sometime. Combining tactical and management elements along with various historical figures reimagined as kawaii anime girls, this is a work that makes no concessions or contains any ambiguity about what it is. However, as quirky and offbeat as it is, does it manage to provide an adequate experience for your inner strategist? Allow me to break it down for you…
Disclaimer: This is a partially review and based off 40 hours playtime. Although, I have unlocked most of the features the game has to offer.
From the developers that brought us 100% Orange Juice and QP Shooting, 200% Mixed Juice is the fruitiest new entry in the Juice franchise that celebrates the many characters from its catalog for its 10th year anniversary. Where 100% OJ was a traditional board game and QP Shooting was a shmup (shoot-em-up), this one is an RPG and actually the first that the developers have done. Very easy to pickup and play much like it’s board game counterpart, most of the joy comes from the novelty.