Dragon Star Varnir's dark world of witches and warfare is unlike anything else Compile Heart and Idea Factory have put out. Unfortunately, the experience is brought down by less than stellar visuals and doesn't make the most of its main gameplay innovations.. There's an interesting story to unfold here, but actually playing the game to get to it might be a challenge best left unmet.
Kill La Kill -IF- may just be the perfect anime video game. It almost flawlessly manages to embrace the style and energy of the original anime, and translate that into an enthralling arena fighter that is just as much fun solo as it is competitively. The art is incredible, the music is astounding, and the story mode goes above and beyond to deliver a fresh narrative that fans of the anime will eat up. Whether you're a Kill La Kill megafan or just a fighting game enthusiast, this is a must play.
It was hard for me to imagine a way to expand on a game that was already so god but Dragon Quest Builders 2 has managed to do just that. A bigger story, new things to build, multi-player and more make this an absolutely jam-packed experience. Building game enthusiasts will love the blend of crafting and survival management, while Dragon Quest fans are sure to love the unique spin on the long-running JRPG franchise, and if you're a fan of both? Well, Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the must have game of 2019.
Senran Kagura Peach Ball is a pinball gaming masterpiece, but it's also incredibly light on content. There's just five characters and two tables, which really isn't a lot. Still, the content that is here is incredibly polished, gorgeous and addictive. These two tables are some of the most fun and jam-packed video game pinball tables I've ever experience, and if the game had just a few more of them, it would be a must-have for any pinball fans looking for their next adventure.
World End Syndome is a visual novel masterpiece. The story is gripping and evocative, blending fun romance and tense murder mystery together incredibly well. The characters are sharp and beautifully illustrated, and the way their personalities and backgrounds developed over the course of the game was equally well-done. Best of all is the smart save system that keeps track of your progress and does a great job of encouraging you to keep coming back for the full story. It's hard to find any faults with a visual novel game like this that so successfully blends beautiful art and storytelling with satisfying game mechanics.
Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is a card collector's dream thanks to the astounding volume of cards and characters in the game. Unfortunately, bringing those cards into battle isn't nearly as satisfying as collecting them, as long-winded duels and shoddy enemy AI ruin the simple to learn yet hard to master nature of the card game. Fans of Dragon Ball will still have a good time here, as long as they're willing to put up with a lot of waiting and repetition.
War Tech Fighters is raw, unadulterated robot action. The flashy combat and easy to master controls make it a blast to dive in and play. The design aesthetic and narrative are lacking massively, which makes it hard to stick with the game for a long time, but if all you're looking for is some simple robot blasting action, War Tech Fighters will be right up your alley.
Gato Roboto is far from purrfect. The boss fights are a delight, challenging me every step of the way and rewarding me for patience and determination. Everything else, though, is just a bit too safe and unoriginal. From familiar environments to basic upgrades and uninventive gameplay, Gato Roboto is an okay, standard Metroid-style game. In a world where so many titles fall into that genre, though, you can easily find something similar to play that has a bit more originality to it.
Hell is Other Demons is a shining example of how to make a game that's relentlessly difficult, while also being utterly satisfying and enjoyable to play. It may get to be too hard way too fast, but once you get over that difficulty ramp, you're in for a hell of a good time. The incredible gameplay is matched by an awesome aesthetic and incredible sound design. If you want some unforgiving video game action, look no further.
Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland maintains the magic that this long-running JRPG series is known for. From relaxing gameplay to adorable characters, Atelier Lulua doesn't disappoint. Newcomers to the series might have some larger story beats go over their head, while long-time fans might be miffed at the fact that so few returning characters are playable in battle. Still, when it comes to the Atelier series, Lulua manages to blend the best of the new with the best of the old with incredibly successful results.
When it comes to visual novels, VA-11 Hall-A is king. Never before have I seen such a perfect balance of sharp writing, gorgeous visuals and downright delicious music that also manages to pack in hours of engagement without ever overstaying it's welcome. Furthermore, the combination of drink-mixing action and visual novel storytelling creates an addictive gameplay loop that makes the game even harder to put down once you pick it up. VA-11 Hall-A is a gem of creativity from the most unlikely of places, and I can't wait to see what the team has up their sleeve next.
Yuppie Psycho is a surreal and incredibly unique experience. By drawing most of it's inspiration from television and film, the game develops a unique aesthetic and world that feels unlike anything other video games have explored. Even though the in-game graphical style is a disappointment, the anime-inspired visuals in the rest of the game and the flawless soundtrack help create a truly tense and at times nightmarish atmosphere. Yuppie Psycho isn't without flaws, but it's a horror gem that is absolutely worth experiencing in spite of those flaws.
Moero Chronicle Hyper lives up to it's name. It is a hyper-actualized fantasy of sex and sex objects and sex acts and anything sex related. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of raunchiness, the game fails to deliver anything that's truly charming or engaging. Beyond some goofy monster designs, it's a terribly average game all around, hampered even further by a translation that desperately needed more time in the oven.
This game is the pinnacle of Mortal Kombat action. Fights are fluid, weighty, and gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately, that tightly-designed gameplay is bogged down by a grindy system of loot and consumables that only serves to artificially extend your playtime in the most tedious ways imaginable. There is so much heart and care put into this game, from the combat to the gorgeous visuals and memorable story, but that effort feels nullified by the desperate attempt to twist an iconic video game franchise into just another endlessly online service game.
Corpse Party: Sweet Sachiko's Hysteric Birthday Bash is an interesting divergence from the usual gory terror of the Corpse Party franchise. It's also a gargantuan crossover event that might leave players feeling lost or confused if they aren't caught up on every piece of Corpse Party media so far. Still, despite the somewhat daunting amount of catching up you'd have to do if you wanted to be totally in the loop, the latest Corpse Party is a wacky and absurd treat that any visual novel fan is sure to get a kick out of.