In some ways, Natsuki Chronicles is a slight thing. It’s certainly not going to be the game that makes people who never play shoot-em-ups reconsider that stance, nor is it the sort of thing that you’re likely to devote months of play to unless you have a burning desire for a new shooter and this is the extent of your options in that regard.
The writing here, though, leaves a lot to be desired. I’m used to visual novels having slow opening routes, but completely foregoing any real character development for hours made this game incredibly difficult to get into. Once over the hump of the initial route, though, Altdeus managed to provide an entertaining story, one that I didn’t mind strapping my Vive headset on for. It’s not mind-blowing by any means, but it’s still a worthwhile read.
Half Past Fate: Romancing Distance is not a boring game, but I do wonder if it was a necessary one. I use games as a form of escapism, so I’m not really sure if I want to actively play a game where I am also living through a global pandemic that won’t let me leave my house or see the people I love.
Nioh 2 is a refinement of an already great game. The biggest flaw in my opinion of the previous title was that it was difficult to hop into. Truly getting to know a moveset required an investment that wasn’t always easy to recover, and trying to put together a build felt foolish for anything you’d replace down the line. Now it feels a lot more open to experimentation.
The problem is the game feels like a major step back from the previous entry in the series. The stilted storytelling, boring setting, and just decent soundtrack all feed into my feelings of disappointment. Lacrimosa of Dana was one of the best games I played in 2017, and the fact that Ys IX doesn’t reach that high is frustrating. If you’re in the mood for more Ys, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is still worth a play. This isn’t a bad game in the slightest…just a disappointing one compared to the highs of recent series entries.
It feels like someone put a lot of heart into Habroxia 2, but heart only goes so far. It’s a decent enough attempt at a side-scrolling shooter, but lacks the polish I’d expect from a game these days. A bit more balance considerations, some more context for why you’re fighting the things you are, and some longer music tracks, and it would be an alright retro throwback. As it is, it’s a bit mediocre.
If you enjoy action stealth experiences like those found in the early Metal Gear games and games like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (except being 2-D) and you like new retro-styled games in the modern era, chances are good you can enjoy this game, even if it doesn’t have the most realistic stealth mechanics.
Gods Will Fall does a lot of things right, so if you’re looking for a game that has high replayability and offers success through personal growth rather than arbitrary difficulty, then look no further. The lead developer at Clever Beans mentioned that their inspiration when creating this game was Demon’s Souls and I’d say they did an excellent job creating an indie version of their muse.
On a whole, though, this is a pretty solid collection of little games that are in many ways frozen in amber from a specific time in gaming history. This isn’t going to make a huge fan out of anyone, but if you’re in the mood for some classic 16-bit shooter fun, this’ll deliver.
But some of this might just be me being cantankerous. I can’t say Olija is all that great, but it’s definitely a solid game that aimed at what it wanted to be and hit it squarely. It’s unlikely to be anyone’s favorite game, but it is – at least – doing its own thing with no small degree of confidence.