It's surprising just what an impact the new animations have in Steins;Gate Elite -- the additions take an already excellent visual novel and makes it feel much more dynamic and intense. What's more, being able to finally play Linear Bounded Phenogram in English is just the icing on an already very scrumptious cake. Elite is the complete visual novel package, and pretty much the best that the genre has to offer.
Song of Memories is just such a bizarre game. It tries really hard to be different with it's sudden and drastic tonal shifts in storyline, but it's not a game that is going to be held up as one of the greats of its genre. Its sluggish early pacing, forgettable characters, and dull rhythm mini-game means that this can only really be recommended to the most die-hard of fans.
The pixel art-style and generic character design in Riddled Corpses Ex makes it a game which is fairly easy for people to overlook and dismiss as yet another bland twin-stick shooter. This would be a mistake though as the gameplay is surprisingly addictive. It's especially fun when slaughtering tons of demonic creatures with a friend, and it has that “just one more go” feeling that will suddenly consume hours of your life without you realizing where the time has gone.
It's been great to look back on some of the older games in the Atelier series; you can really see where some of the later games got their inspiration from. If you've never got round to playing this trilogy before then now is the perfect time to pick these up and experience a beautiful, heart-warming JRPG series – just in time for the fourth game in 2019!
Even though it's unlikely to be something that keeps you enthralled for long, when you take into account the game's fairly low price tag, it's still worth a look if you like these kinds of puzzles. It's also worth it if you're the type who likes to hunt Platinum trophies. Once people start uploading solutions to the puzzles online, you could easily blast through them all within a couple of hours. It definitely won't take you much effort before you'd get to hear that sweet, addictive ping of a shiny new Platinum trophy.
Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is definitely not a fairy tale, but if you're okay with playing something with a darker, more mature tone then it's worth giving this a go. Exploring every inch of the labyrinth is addictive, and its unique battle system and an in-depth character creation system will keep you busy for quite a while.
Punch Line has a completely bonkers but utterly engrossing storyline. Its quirky cast of characters are incredibly captivating and it's easy to fall in love with all of them. The puzzles are a bit too easy but that just makes it quicker to get back to the thrilling story.
While Fall of Light: Darkest Edition does have an interesting tale to tell, it's wrapped up in so many layers of mediocrity that it's unlikely you'll get far enough to care. Poor combat, annoying death mechanics, and an irritating inventory system make the game tedious to play through.
Castaway Paradise has potential, and it'll be interesting to see if the developer updates it with new content in the future. While it's nowhere near as in-depth as Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, it is still a very relaxing and entertaining little adventure. Its unique visuals are simplistic but colorful, and the characters you get to meet are entertaining. If you don't happen to have a Nintendo console with which to play Animal Crossing, then Castaway Paradise makes a reasonable substitute.
Shining Resonance Refrain feels very much like a budget RPG. While it does some things really well such as well-written characters with excellent voice acting and awesome music, there are plenty of things that just don't really work. Combat is clunky and dull, the sidequests are mostly repetitive, and the game world feels surprisingly small. Unfortunately, this is a game that's unlikely to stick around in anyone's memory for very long.
Rainbow Skies is an epic adventure with a much improved narrative when compared to its predecessor. Its addictive gameplay makes it an absolute joy to explore every inch of the world, and with a huge amount of customisation options and an abundance of side quests, this superior sequel is sure to keep you enthralled for many, many hours.
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time manages to capture the essence of the anime brilliantly. There's plenty of fun to be had exploring Luna Nova as well as all the various dungeons. Some slow story pacing and frame rate drops let things down slightly, but if you're a fan of the series, you should definitely pick this up.
Atelier Lydie & Suelle isn't as innovative as its predecessors, but that doesn't mean you should write it off entirely - it tells a charming and captivating story that ends up being the best tale in the whole Mysterious trilogy. There are plenty of enchanting areas to explore as well, and as always, there's a deep alchemy system for you to master.
Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms offers a very satisfying conclusion to the Hakuoki tale. Boasting a fascinating narrative filled with bloody battles and political intrigue that's topped off with plenty of alluring characters and romances that feel deep and meaningful, this is an easy game to recommend to those who love a good story.
This Secret of Mana remake feels like a missed opportunity. It could have been a chance to tweak a few systems, strip away any outdated elements, and add in a few basic improvements. Overall the game is good but only because the original Secret of Mana was good; this remaster doesn't add as much as it could and, if anything, removes some of the magic of the original.
Tokyo Tattoo Girls is a simple strategy game which can be fun in small doses but is sadly not interesting enough to keep you playing for long. The story is poor, the characters are strange (and not in a good way), and the gameplay is lacking. The artwork and tattoos look gorgeous, so it's a pity they weren't in a better game.
Featuring improved graphics and more polished gameplay, .hack//G.U. Last Recode offers a fascinating look back at a classic JRPG series. While repetition can sometimes bog things down, the story and characters will keep you coming back to The World, determined to see Haseo's journey through to the end.
Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon is quite a streamlined Japanese RPG. The time limit system will keep you constantly moving forward, and while it is a bit shorter than your typical JRPG, it rarely feels repetitive thanks to a quick and satisfying battle system. A beautiful and engaging cast of characters are the icing on the cake.