It's a shame that Labyrinth Life didn't choose to go the route of Criminal Girls 2, where it released with mini-games in tact but had artwork that was redrawn by the original Japanese team to be a bit less smutty. Releasing the game without many of the naughty mini-games means that you see it for what it truly is; an uninspiring dungeon crawler that, apart from the challenge dungeons, is a bit of a dull slog to play through.
You can really see that the developer has tried hard to address the criticisms of the first game. The mini-games are a fun new addition to the combat system but don't totally eliminate the repetitive nature of the fights. The memorable cast of characters and kooky storyline helps to keep things fresh but ultimately this isn't too different from the first Citizens game.
World End Syndrome is such a beautiful visual novel and it expertly weaves its romance and mystery elements together to create a truly alluring adventure. It does a very good job at subverting your expectations but it's lengthy prologue may mean that some will switch off before the game reaches the really good bits.
Super Neptunia RPG is a fun but ultimately fairly average spin-off. Neptune and her friends are as funny and endearing as ever, but the story does them a disservice by bogging them down in needlessly long and boring conversations. If you're a fan of the Neptunia series then you'll certainly enjoy seeing all the familiar faces and the world in its gorgeous new 2D form, but for everyone else, this is a run-of-the-mill JRPG.
Zanki Zero is a really entertaining blend of visual novel and survival RPG gameplay. The story is just as eccentric and zany as the Danganronpa series and features that grittiness fans have come to expect. The combat system is a little simplistic, but the human cloning makes it a really unique experience. However, the title doesn't quite hit the same deliciously dark heights as Danganronpa.
Nelke & the Legendary Alchemist is a wonderful celebration of past Atelier games, all while bringing something genuinely new and different to the table. While many of the RPG elements have been greatly toned down, the town-building aspects are so addictive and entertaining that you can forgive the simplicity. A light and breezy atmosphere topped off with so many charming character interactions make Nelke's story an undeniably pleasant adventure.
It's great that a game that many may have overlooked on the Wii is being given a new lease on life on the latest generation of consoles. A new coat of paint and some fun new gameplay features makes Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! a very easy game to recommend to those seeking a challenging but super adorable adventure.
I really wanted to like this game more than I do. It looks very pretty and there's a large range of weird and wonderful weapons to collect, but sadly that's about all it has going for it. The story is dull, the combat is bland, and it just feels really repetitive. Overall, it's not a very challenging game and is unlikely to hold your attention for long.
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.