As much as I loved playing through the Final Fantasy V Pixel Remaster, I can’t call it the definitive version. A definitive version would have the GBA bonus content, the PS1 cutscenes, the option to switch graphics and music, and multiple difficulties. But what we have is a beautiful version of a JRPG classic that has not been widely distributed outside of Japan. It’s an amazing game that holds up really well today. So, if anyone from Square-Enix is reading this review, please release the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters on console, with physical editions. I would buy the heck outta that.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a very good throwback to the weirder survival horror games found on the PS2. It features a looming horror atmosphere I really enjoyed, and a unique gameplay hook with its motion controlled first person camera. While it’s not going to win any game of the year awards, I would think that Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water should be a must play for all survival horror fans, especially with its budget price.
The main game consists of 5 chapters that each take about 2 hours, as well as 3 bonus chapters. Corpse Party isn’t the longest game, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and it’s certainly worth its bargain price. The only complaints I might have is that it won’t be for everyone. Corpse Party isn’t quite a visual novel, but it’s definitely more of an interactive story than a videogame. Its modern equivalents are games like To the Moon, and Yume Nikki. So if you’re into JRPGs, old school survival horror, or modern narrative-heavy RPG Maker indie games, I highly recommend picking up Corpse Party. I was curious about playing it, and am so happy that I did.
I feel like I will get some backlash for this, but I did not enjoy my time with Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. I am not usually a fan of the farm sim genre, but I can tell other non-fans that this is not the game that will get them into it. It is a remake of a 22-year-old game, and for that, it gets credit for helping build this niche genre and for having little to build upon. But there are other options out there. Stardew Valley has trampled the Story of Seasons series under its hoof, and the Persona series has made the day-to-day grind exciting and meaningful. But if you love farm sims and you’re looking for a simpler, more relaxing alternative to Stardew Valley, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town will undoubtedly provide you with hours upon hours of content.
While the core mix of action platforming and city building is a thing of beauty, this Renaissance version of ActRaiser is bogged down by motion sickness-inducing framerate drops, ugly prerendered character models, and far too frequent tower defense sections. If ActRaiser Renaissance is your only way to play ActRaiser, then please do yourself the favor, but I would highly recommend getting a Super Nintendo with a game cartridge, or a Wii with the virtual console download installed.
Sadly, I cannot claim that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot + A New Power Awakens Set is the complete experience. But for the same price as the base game on any other console, the Switch version is definitely the way to go for new players. Anyone who already owns the base game and DLC on other systems might only be interested for portability purposes. Any Dragon Ball Z fan, who has not played Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, need to do themselves a favor and play this strange hybrid of cinematic storytelling, 3D fighting game aerial combat, JRPG mechanics, and open world exploration.
The DLC is excellent, and the portability is aces. If you’ve never played Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom before, then the Switch’s Prince’s Edition is a must play for any JRPG fan. My only complaints are about what the game doesn’t have. Everything it does have is wonderful. It’s kind of worth it for the strange intro alone.
I suppose most players’ enjoyment from Ultra Age will be tied to whether or not they find the game’s shortcomings intention, or unintentional; charming or breaking. I am writing this review from the point of view that Ultra Age is an intentional throwback to early PS2 third person action games. The look and tone is hilarious and non-sensical, but the gameplay is tight. So if you’re looking for something similar to a Devil May Cry, but thought Onechanbara was terrible, Ultra Age might be what you’re looking for. It plays better than something like Deadly Premonition, but doesn’t have quite the intentional derp of Metal Wolf Chaos. I’d say it sits nicely in the realm of something like God Hand. And if this is just a poorly presented game, it fooled me, and is still tons of fun to play.
Arietta of Spirits just isn’t enough game. I’d say it’d be perfect for very young adventure game enthusiasts, lacking any cryptic puzzle-solving, or difficult combat, but the hitboxes are just too unfair. Fans of old-school 2D adventure games might find some enjoyment here, but only a few hours’ worth. Just expect something a little less Link To The Past, and a little more Twisted Tales of Spike McFang, and players should be fine. If you are looking for an excellent 2D top-down adventure game, and all you’ve played all the Legend of Zelda titles, check out the modern classics Blossom Tales or CrossCode, or the PS1 gem Alundra
Fuga: Melodies Of Steel is a tricky game to review. It’s likely not what anyone is looking for. Not only is it different gameplay-wise from the other Little Tail Bronx games, but its linearity will also turn off many RPG fans. What it is though, is very good. CyberConnect2 certainly achieved their vision with this strange adventure. Though Fuga’s audience may be extremely niche, those who play it, without expectations, will be in for a treat.
Cotton Reboot is one of my favorite horizontal shoot ‘em ups of all time, alongside Keio Flying Squadron, Harmful Park, Cho Aniki, and Zombie Nation. What those all have in common is that they’re weird and unique in their presentation. They all have solid gameplay but don’t re-invent the wheel with anything other than style. Casual shooter fans can’t go wrong with Cotton Reboot!. It has an interesting presentation, tight controls, and scale-able difficulty. It won’t challenge hardcore bullet hell enthusiasts, but they probably want their shmups to be vertical anyways.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a fantastic value. It contains two Ace Attorney games, each with five stories. Considering the most recent great visual novel compilation, Famicom Detective Club, was a full-priced collection, containing two games less than half the length of the two found in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, this collection at 2/3 the cost is a steal for visual novel fans. If you’re a fan of the original Ace Attorney games, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is an excellent return to form.
Although Risk System might not appeal to bullet hell enthusiasts, it still provides an excellent challenge. And really, Risk System isn’t trying to appeal to them anyway; it’s made to be much more accessible and innovative. In that sense, it exceeds in shining colors. I just wish there was more game to play. But for the low price tag, anyone interested in the shoot ‘em up genre can’t go wrong with a Risk System purchase.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is the kind of game that provides experiences unique to the video game medium. It is also the kind of game that pushes the visual novel genre’s boundaries, and serves as an excellent example of what non-video game players might not know they’re missing, if they’re not willing to try different kinds of games. This is a game you will tell everyone about when you’re finished playing it, and at the same time, just like this humble reviewer, you won’t want to share why. For less than $20, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is a highly recommended and very unique gaming experience.
Whether you’re a fan of the originals, or a curious party looking to get into skateboarding games, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a must play. All the original content, a smooth framerate, portability, loads of in-game customization, and a pinch of new content are a recipe for skateboarding success. Only a lack of create-a-skater options and lack of Spider-Man mar this fun flashback. This is what it’s like when worlds collide.
The three games found in the Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection are great, especially the original (the other two are more of the same). They all look, sound, and play as well or better than any other versions that have been released. If you enjoy third-person action games, the Ninja Gaiden Sigma Trilogy still holds up today. And the original should be required playing, as it is one of the original Xbox’s finest exclusives. However, buyers beware that these are only the Sigma versions of the modern Ninja Gaiden Trilogy. I don’t want to judge this collection for what I wish it contained (it already has three great games with tons of content), but by calling it a “Master Collection,” the game loses a couple of points due to false advertising.
While Earth Defense Force: World Brothers innovates nothing, it is incredibly fun. It more than makes up for its lack of originality with a clever, family-friendly graphical style, and boatloads of content. Anyone looking for some mindless shooter action can’t go wrong with World Brothers. I highly recommend it over other games mainly because of the size of its enemy swarms, the scope of its destructible buildings, and its endless amount of content.
The most important aspect of a visual novel is that it has a compelling story, and in that aspect, Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest delivers in spades. I just don’t feel like the mechanics in Heart of the Forest justify it being a videogame over a straight up novel. If you’re a fan of the Werewolf: The Apocalypse franchise, then Heart of the Forest should serve as an excellent love letter. Newcomers to the franchise who are visual novel fans will find a driving narrative, but those who like a lot of play in their game best stay away.
Professor Lupo: Ocean will be a treat for fans of the original. It continues the story, sets up a compelling mystery, and it looks and sounds fantastic. The puzzles are of one kind, however, and the game is short. Luckily the price tag is small, and it really is a continuation of the ideas/ story of Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets. Puzzle fans should enjoy the length and variety in that game, and come back for more of a very specific-kind of puzzle in this sequel.
No, Dragon Quest XI S is not technically perfect. It has Switch graphics, is a little on the easy side, and isn’t going to convert any non-JRPG fans. But it is a game that shines so brightly! The story, visuals, music, and gameplay come together to create an unforgettable experience. This is one of the games I will always have a physical copy of and will revisit every few years for the rest of my life.