It stands out in a few ways from its contemporaries, mostly in its Tales-esque battle system and character recruitment and affection minutiae. My best recommendation for First Departure R might be that it's a story-heavy RPG that spins a yarn compelling enough to keep you engaged while also delivering a battle system that is breezy and not as technical. Star Ocean has a lot of complexities underneath the hood, but taking it at face value can leave you with an approachable and enjoyable adventure.
Heroland relies far too much on the style over substance, and while I do really enjoy the style, especially the Paper Mario-esque pixelated characters, I'm let down by how unsatisfying the game is overall. It's imminently cute with a solid sense of humor that just unravels into a slog of an adventure that is mostly worth it for the charm of the presentation and not much else.
undefined.Thankfully, EarthNight wins the day with its enthralling style and art, packing in so many secrets inside its distinctive look. A few issues crop up, chiefly the narrower viewpoint during the fast levels and some long-tail grindy repetition, but the overwhelming killer vibe of this uniquely beautiful video game make it something special, even if dozens (hundreds?) of games have made use of the terms roguelite, procedural generation, and platformers since EarthNight was first revealed half a decade ago.
After spending time with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, I'm still confused as to why this specific game was the pick to revive the franchise. The 10 mini-games included aren't that strong and the main game is mediocre at best, dragged down by the motion-focused level design and abysmal boss battles. On one hand, I was happy to play Super Monkey Ball again, but on the other, I wish I could play a better Super Monkey Ball game.
The Final Cut of Genesis Aladdin is the game-playing standout, featuring an array of refinements and improvements for a 25+ year old game. But the actual best part of this package is the Criterion Collection-like additions, specifically the bountiful interviews with the original developers. This is an essential entry into the greater view of video game history and I'm so happy that a collection like this exists.
The overall case is somewhat neat and tidy - it won't take you much more than a few hours to solve the mystery - but the journey along the way is enjoyable. The voice acting and standout art and animation fits the distinctive characters very well, and with few exceptions, the puzzles and deduction sequences are engaging and brain-wrinkling. I hope this is the start of a new era in Detective Grimoire's career, because I wouldn't mind revisiting this world and gameplay style again soon.
Ichidant-R comes as a gigantic bummer despite being a super neat and novel game that I never knew about before this release. The mini-games are enjoyable and the aesthetics are neat, but the fact that the Mega Drive options, including an RPG-lite mode and a multiplayer board game, are completely in Japanese renders those enticing options as non-starters. Unless you're looking for a reason to try to learn some Japanese, this is hard to recommend, even if the basic arcade mode (that's actually in English) is enjoyable.
The adventure mode is the true winner here, as the unbridled mayhem keeps up a solid pace, only really faltering in the back half as it gets just a tiny bit long in the tooth. Pig Eat Ball is a ridiculous and preposterous game that is thoroughly unique, even if it often wears its arcade inspirations on its sleeves. That all being said, it's a delightfully quirky experience that calls to mind throwback game concepts in a post-modern way.
Little Town Hero is a decidedly peculiar game, with an involved battle system occasionally interrupted by a mostly adorable story. The complexities of combat can get exhausting, especially during some hard, slow-paced bouts, but the spectacular style and vibe found in the visuals and the Toby Fox-led soundtrack help to paper over some of the maladies. This Game Freak game might not be for everyone, but if you're looking for an adorable aesthetic amped up by hardcore CCG-inspired combat, Little Town Hero might be made specifically for you, because it seems like it's that way for me.