This has been the year of me playing games I’d usually never pick up and going, “Wow, this is a good game!” So let me begin this review with this — Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi is a good game that fell completely under my radar. From developer Experience, Undernauts is your typical dungeon RPG, but that doesn’t mean it’s your average DRPG.
Impostor Factory is a surprisingly beautiful game that questions what it means to have a meaningful life. It tells a cyclical narrative that still manages to feel honest and emotionally raw. It works best if you go into it with as little information as possible, so I won’t say much more than that on how the story unfolds.
I know this is starting to sound like a piece more dedicated to visual novels than Famicom Detective Club itself, but I promise you it's not. The games' history and their context is just so important. Visual novels aren't new, and they aren't unpopular, but still they end up being categorized as a niche genre for specific people, or as "smaller" or "easier" games. That's wrong, and Famicom Detective Club demonstrates that. These two games take mechanics from visual novels and adventure games of the past to create an immersive, diverse experience.
Ikenfell is a great game wrapped in a small package. Even with small pacing issues and a battle system that I often wanted to skip, I had a surprisingly good time with this game. Almost every aspect of it shines on its own and put together it’s a great retro-style RPG that takes the commonplace world of teenage magic and proves that it can be an inclusive space full of introspection and growth.
Overall, Summer in Mara has an incredibly strong narrative with character art and light music that only strengthens it. It’s youthful and vibrant, but it also has more somber notes that aren’t always found in farming sims. The only downside is that music and a character driven plot aren't enough to get through all the tedious parts.