I enjoyed my time with Neptunia ReVerse. It was great seeing these loveable characters interact with each other again, and I appreciated how much this game improved upon the original. ReVerse is such a significant improvement over Hyperdimension Neptunia, that if your only experience with the first game is the original, I highly recommend picking this one up to see how much it changed. If you’re new to the series, this is probably the best way to get into the Neptunia franchise, seeing as how this is a remake of the very first game. If you already played Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1, I think you can skip this one since the story is essentially the same. I think $50 is a bit high for an upgraded port of a PS Vita game, so I recommend waiting for a price drop before picking this one up. Neptunia ReVerse is available right now for PlayStation 5.
Akiba’s Trip is still one of the most unique franchises in gaming. I mean, what other game can you pick up a crazy weapon like a rice cooker, beat down a vampire with it, and then strip their clothing? This may sound crazy, but it’s just a ton of fun. The story is great no matter which path you choose, and it took me around 28 hours to complete all three of them. There are still some sidequests and items I need to collect to have 100% of everything. There are some annoying bits of combat and some muddy textures, but these are very minor flaws. If you were a fan of the previous release, you should definitely pick this one up. You’ll find more of what you love here at the $39.99 price tag. If you are new to the series, this is a great place to jump in, since this is technically the first title in the franchise.
Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with UnderMine. It takes a fair amount of time to beat the game, at least 20-40 hours. That’s highly dependent on your skill level, of course. There is also a hidden mode to unlock, called OtherMine. To overcome it, you’ll have to push forward without the benefit of permanent progression upgrades like you’ve had in the main campaign. Naturally, this means you’ll have to make do with the random items you find along the way. UnderMine is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99. You can also find it on Steam and Xbox. Do you have what it takes to conquer the mines, and the OtherMine?
If that wasn’t enough, there are multiple versions of Mushihimesama for you to experience including Arrange, 1.5, and Novice Mode designed for newcomers featuring simplified bullet patterns and the ability to auto-bomb. Each “version” of the game offers some differences such as remixed soundtracks and different scoring systems. Any good shoot ’em up release would have a whole list of options for you to play with to further customize the experience, and Mushihimesama delivers on that front as well. You can change the aspect ratio, screen orientation and size, display the inputs and high scores, and have the ability to enable additional game windows for a “picture in picture” effect.
Much as I wish I could rave about how amazing the game is, it’s unable to reach the heights I thought it capable of. But since the ending hints there’s gonna be a remake of the next game in the Wonder Boy series, I hope that can fully realize its vision while still being a balanced experience. A fun trip down memory lane, but hard to recommend for anyone other than expert platformers, especially for $34.99.
Touhou Hyouibana ～ Antinomy of Common Flowers is a pretty decent fighting game. It’s fast, fun, easy to play, but has some meat for advanced players as well. I think the online community not being there hurts the replay value of this one a bit, but if you have some local friends you can duke it out with, you should have a great time. Touhou fans should be all over this one, but the $34.99 price tag is a bit much for what you’re getting here, but if you can snag this one up during a sale, I think most people would be satisfied with the quality.
At the end of the day, Guilty Gear -STRIVE- is a very solid title. The game looks and plays fantastic. The artwork and overall aesthetics here are the best I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if Arc System Works really made this game more accessible to non-fighting game fans, but they did simplify things a bit. I still feel like in order to really enjoy this one, you’d have to get used to all of the advanced mechanics the game has to offer to play with online competitors, since there are very few options for players to enjoy offline. There is a very basic Arcade Mode, Training, Survival and, of course, the anime Story Mode. The Online Versus Mode is where this one really shines, and they have done a great job making it work for players of all skill levels. While I think the lack of some single player modes and the smaller roster holds this back a bit, it’s still one of the best anime fighters I’ve played.
NINJA GAIDEN: Master Collection bundles three good action games that are still fun to play years after their original release dates, and have made a pretty smooth transition over to Nintendo Switch, despite some of the hiccups I mentioned earlier. While some aspects didn’t age well, like Sigma‘s camera issues, I still think these three titles are solid action games and worth picking up. I think that NINJA GAIDEN fans, and fans of action games in general, will still find a lot to love here. The games still have fun combat, good music, beautiful character models, and the baddest ninja in the world, Ryu Hayabusa. A standard edition copy will cost $39.99 on the Nintendo eShop, and I feel this bundle is definitely worth that. If you want something extra, you can also get the deluxe edition for $49.99 which comes with a digital art book and soundtrack. Are you ready to fulfill your ninja fantasy and step into the shoes of the world’s strongest ninja?
Smelter is an impressive piece of ambition. The originality that comes with the pairing of 2-D action platforming and RTS is easily commended. The brilliance and execution of the action platforming stages is overwhelmingly impressive, so much so that they’re able to carry the game on their own. However, the flaws of the RTS segments of gameplay mar the experience, as does the overall disjointed feel of gameplay when transitioning from fast-paced action to the crawl that is the RTS. The weak story and shallow characters fail to help the effort, though the attempts at creating a history and having a plot twist or two are appreciated. Lastly, I will be impressed with Smelter’s visual aesthetics and soundtrack for a long time to come. The 20 USD price is fair for the near 15 hours of gameplay and I would only encourage the purchase further should that price ever drop. Despite its missteps, Smelter is still an easy recommendation for any fan looking for an energetic bit of challenging, yet fun, high-paced 2-D action platforming.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir is a solid, enjoyable mystery to play. I loved exploring Myoujin Village and learning about the cast, or swapping between the orchestrated arrangement and original chiptune songs. The game is also a time capsule into Nintendo’s past and the early days of graphic adventures on console, and has aged remarkably well. I sort of wish they’d included the original version of the game, if only for comparison’s sake, but having the music is a nice touch. The game even comes with a Music Mode you unlock after completing it. It’s a nice touch. Will this title wow veteran visual novel and graphic adventure aficionados? Not really. But for its place in the genre’s history, I think it’s worth a shot.