When I played The World Ends with You on my Nintendo DS back in 2008, I was struck by how vibrant and wonderfully unique the game is. I’d hoped for more for years, especially after teases found in the ports. Now we’re back in Shibuya for NEO TWEWY, and it is the sequel the original deserved. Yet, at the same time, it stands tall on its own merits and is a welcoming experience for people completely unfamiliar with the series.
There are reasons people might be happy about Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed. It’s a win for folks who enjoy the series, as they’ll finally get to play the one that started it all. Those who appreciate obscure games getting a release outside of Japan might be pleased to see it show up worldwide. Not to mention it helps with game preservation efforts, as this is a PlayStation Portable title being “rescued.” I’m glad people who want it have a chance to play it. But it’s a big step back from Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed and incredibly frustrating.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 is not only a friendly way to ease into an otherwise imposing series. It’s also an example of a developer improving upon every flaw from the original game. The result is a game that is one of the best I’ve played so far in 2021.
Weaving Tides is a pleasant experience and goes all-in on its theme. You can tell the atmosphere is prioritized here. While that’s great news for things like puzzles and traversal, it can lead to some combat segments not feeling as tight. And the story seems like it is there more as an excuse to let us roam this beautiful world. Which is fun, as I’d take any excuse to ride these dragons.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is a great way to revisit a visual novel that made quite a splash. For newcomers, it’s easy to hop into and enjoy, even offering the PC “workarounds.” For people who’ve joined the club before, the extra stories and media are enjoyable. The sole downside is that, with all its accessibility, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is difficult to read on the Switch and has an unfriendly UI.
Scarlet Nexus is the sort of game where not only will its combat sell it, but the story and spoilers packed into it will too. It is a title where I was constantly thrown by elements. Sometimes it was an exceptionally clever application of a power. It could be a great enemy design. Or maybe a twist would get me. Even when I wasn’t exactly thrilled with how something might work, I found myself wanting to talk about it.
Square Enix’s Mana series, like the SaGa series, is finding new life and respect in recent years, what with the Secret of Mana remake, Collection of Mana localization, and Trials of Mana remake. It’s an opportunity for new appreciation. Fortunately, that means Legend of Mana is getting its own moment on the Switch, PS4, and PC with a remaster. While it doesn’t exactly address every issue present in the original game, it looks amazing and includes some features that might ease frustrations.
FFVII Remake Intergrade is a game full of moments both expected and unexpected. It is packed with people you recognize and, unless you went all in on Compilation of FFVII, don’t. Its fundamental gameplay is tight and does enough that it engages you with what-ifs. What could happen this time and how will things change since Square Enix is able to things out more? And with FF7R INTERmission especially, we’re getting hints of how additional stories could go.