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…?
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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.”
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Unlike most individuals that have the wherewithal to own any the next-gen consoles, Steam has quickly become a champion for those that go without as it continues to collect a few select titles into already overloaded library. Not exactly interested in splurging for any one system or showing much enthusiasm for the games available, Megadimension Neptunia VII has been one that I was eager to play and now fortunate enough to do so. How does it stack up compared to its predecessors?
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When it comes to the indie game front, Japanese doujin titles are probably my most favorite to observe. Usually known for putting together some harebrained ideas (like any creator) that should never seem to work out, I’m glad that they oddly do and really remind me why I like and play games in the first place. So why not make a game about growing plants? In an oversimplified nutshell that is the premise of Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden, a tale that follows a girl named Organa, that is working as an apprentice at her master Irene’s shop that specializes in growing plants…that produce organs instead of fruit? Yeah, told you it would be out there, but that is apart of its charm.
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Developed by Idea Factory under its Otome game brand Otomate, Amnesia: Memories is among one of the companies pioneering titles that finally gets a western release. And while Otoge or Otome games are meant to cater specifically toward a female audience, a male audience can also partake of them. The story puts players into the shoes of an unnamed female protagonist that has lost her memories after a strange incident. With help of mysterious young boy named Orion, the two work together to help make sense of the heroine’s past life, while trying not raise suspicion from friends and a boyfriend she never knew existed.
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Developed by Fastermind Games, Icebound is described as a “steampunk fantasy visual novel and puzzle game” hybrid as it follows the journey of a young alchemist named Dougal taking on a job in the city of Isenbarr that turns out to be a hunt for a dangerous fiend. With other alchemist taking on the job for the tempting reward offered, a fierce competition ensues – one that Dougal needs to win for his own sake. Drawing me in based on the genres incorporated alone, did that sentiment transfer over to the entire experience?
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An ode to SRPG’s or another offender to them all is the question Rime Berta presents. Luckily, it is a question that can be easily answered and without hesitation.
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As someone who is greatly fond of puzzle games, most of my younger years was spent with genre more than any other. Everything from the Lemmings willing to commit mass suicide chucking themselves off cliffs until you intervene to the iconic Tetris conjure up some delightful memories of my youth and most likely the reason why I still easily gravitate to the genre to this day. However, if you were to ask my opinion on a little game called “Minesweeper, a game I was so awful at (and still remain to this day), that it would make its principal creator rollover in his/her in disgust, repressed memories shadowed by shame and anguish would be the only answer. With ManaCollect, a game that is an action x puzzle hybrid inspired by the aforementioned, I thought my torment would be reborn anew, but instead turned into a weird pleasure. Frankly, I just kept getting my butt kicked and kept coming back for more. That’s either a sign of an unhealthy relationship or a solid game. I’m tempted to say the former, but the latter rings true.
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The Humans Tanks are back and this time players take on the role of Royal Army officer Alter Matsuyukishiro and her journey to protect her homeland in War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR.
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From the creators of Sakura Spirit, Winged Cloud has concocted another visual novel centering around magical girls, supernatural battles, and lascivious artwork that ties all together to be describe as a “angelic love comedy” called Sakura Angels. Not much of a creative naming convention considering it is unrelated to the aforementioned, but since I have little knowledge of this company other than that they are dedicated to creating visual novels for the west and haven’t had the opportunity to play any of their products up until now, I was very eager to try this out. As far as did my eagerness hold out…well, you shall find out now.
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