Friday, October 05, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask edition)

Seeing as how Level-5's first 3DS-based Professor Layton title is due to hit the streets throughout both Europe and North America in a few short weeks, I thought I should prepare and publish another "Which Box Art is Better?" post in its honor.

Before we get to its European and North American cover art, though, let's take a look at the art, below, that can be found on Japanese copies of the game (which was released all the way back in February 2011).

The box art produced for the European version of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, which will find its way onto store shelves on Oct. 26 (the North American version follows just two days later), eschews its predecessor's minimalism in favor of a busy style that calls to mind the series' DS-based efforts. (View them here, here and here.)

At first glance, the title's North American cover art, below, looks pretty similar to that of its European counterpart, at least in terms of color and theme, but on closer inspection it manages to set itself apart thanks to a more elegant and less constricted design.

As for which one I like best: I'm sure this will shock some of you more excitable folks, but this time around I'm going with the European box art. Yes, it's busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony, and I'd like it a lot more if it included even 50 percent less text, but I still prefer it to its two "competitors."

For me, both the Japanese and North American cover designs are just a bit too ... sterile. (OK, so the Japanese design is way too sterile.) I consider the European design, on the other hand, to be dramatic and moody, plus it features the most appealing logo of the bunch.

That's just my opinion of this box-art trio, though; what's yours?

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Oh, hey, yet another PS3 game I'd probably buy if I, you know, had a PS3

One thing that I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about the recording of the third episode of The Nichiest Podcast Ever: We also discussed my admittedly surprising lack of a PS3.

Full disclosure: It's always been my intention to own all three of the "current gen" consoles at some point in time. Thanks to my current obsession with the 3DS, and to Nintendo's idiotic decision to region-lock that particular portable, though, I've yet to a PS3 to my collection.

Although I recently commented (in this post) that I was considering forgoing the PS3 and its games altogether, I have a feeling the more likely scenario is that I'll wait until the PS4 (or whatever Sony winds up calling it) is released and then I'll pick up a PS3 "on the cheap," so to speak.

The question is: Which games will I purchase alongside it? A few of the obvious ones I've mentioned here before include Journey, Ni No KuniTokyo Jungle and Valkyria Chronicles. Well, an additional possibility was added to that ever-expanding list yesterday, with that "possibility" being NIS' Kami-sama to Unmei Kakumei Paradox.

All you really need to know about this "spiritual successor to Zettai Hero Project" is that it's being made by the company's Disgaea team. Should you need to know more about it, though, hopefully the following comments, shared by NIS America's Jack Niida during a recent interview with RPGamer, will suffice:

"In this title, a young man wins a department store lottery game, only to discover that what he's won is a divine power to change people's destiny. In order to save people, he has to take on various roles and somehow find a way to change whatever fate may await them.

"The actual gameplay in Kami-Para is the sort of thing that NIS is best known for: Hardcore tactical combat. Any quirks or environmental factors in combat have yet to be revealed."

How badly do you want to play Donkey Kong: Original Edition?

I'm guessing most of you have heard this news elsewhere, but just in case a few of you haven't: Nintendo of America will soon make Donkey Kong: Original Edition--aka the NES port of Donkey Kong with the arcade version's "cement factory" level added back in for good measure--available to select 3DS owners.

I say "select" because the game will be given (for free) to folks who buy Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone, Crosswords Plus, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask or Style Savvy: Trendsetters via the 3DS eShop by Jan. 6.

Is the promise of Donkey Kong: Original Edition enough of an incentive to prompt any of you to pick up digital copies of one or more of the above-mentioned 3DS titles?

For more information about this promotion, pay a visit to at your earliest convenience.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Third podcast's a charm?

As of about 14 hours ago, the audio for the third episode of The Nichiest Podcast Ever is in the can.

What did Anne (@apricotsushi on twitter), shidoshi (@pikoeri) and I chat about this time?

Well, we began by shooting the spit about the recent Tokyo Game Show (which shidoshi attended in person, the lucky devil) and the heap of niche-y games--3DS and Vita ones, especially--that were announced during the multi-day event.

We also discussed the just-announced Animal Crossing-themed 3DS LL (it'll hit the streets of Japan on Nov. 8) and the just-released (on Sept. 27) "PINK x WHITE" 3DS LL that I wrote about earlier today.

 Oh, and we touched on Bayonetta 2, Dead or Alive 5, THE "DENPA" MEN, HarmoKnight, Tokyo Jungle, and a few other games I can't mention here because they were part of the do-you-know-this-game segment of the podcast that's called "The Nichiest of Them All," too.

As always, I'll let you know when this episode is available for listening. In the meantime, why not check out episodes one and two?

In the flesh: PINK x WHITE 3DS LL

I wish I could say I filmed the unboxing video seen below (and here), but, alas, I didn't. Who knows, though, maybe I'll be able to make my own before the year is over?

The question is: Will my unboxing video focus on a Japanese or a North American pink-and-white 3DS XL/LL?

Actually, after the pair of "Chotto Nintendo Direct" presentations (this one announced a trio of new 3DS LL color variations, while this one revealed that a number of previously released retail games will be added to the Japanese eShop on Nov. 1) that were broadcast last night, an even better question might be:

Will my unboxing video focus on the aforementioned pink-and-white XL/LL or the just-announced Animal Crossing-branded LL that'll hit store shelves in Japan on Nov. 8?

See also: 'Welp, it seems I'll be buying a 3DS XL a bit sooner than I initially thought I would'

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

THE 'DENPA' MEN QR codes for all of you dreadfully shy types

Now that all of you who own 3DSes have purchased THE "DENPA" MEN from the eShop (ahem), and since you've all advanced to the point where you can scan QR codes (right?), I thought I'd share a few of the ones that were generated by my personal favorite "Denpa" men and women.

Please share photos of your own QR codes in the comments section of this post, if you're open to such things.

The name of this "Denpa" man is Aarav. His antenna produces "Mud Stream."

The "Denpa" man in the photo above is known as Leonidas, and his antenna provides him with the "Cyclone" skill. Whoosh!

Want to send waves of water at your enemies? Add pig-nosed Joshua (and his "Tidal Wave" skill) to your party.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ten things I love about THE 'DENPA' MEN

Sorry, I can't help but use capital letters whenever I type THE "DENPA" MEN, kind of like how I can't help but use them when I type PINK x WHITE while discussing this just-released-in-Japan 3DS LL.

Anyway, who cares about that, right? You clicked on this post because you want to read about the 10 things I love about this Genius Sonority-made 3DS RPG.

Without further ado, then, here they are (in no particular order, mind you):

1. Gotta catch 'em all!--Who would've known that catching the so-called "Denpa" men would be so addicting? Not only that, but it's fun! Sure, you look like a complete idiot when you scan a public area for them, but that's easily forgotten as soon as you encounter a shiny, striped "Denpa" man (or woman) sporting a "heal (all)" antenna.

2. Such character--Call me crazy if you like, but I actually think these little "Denpa" dudes and dudettes (some of them are women, right?) are cuter than Nintendo's Miis. I love the wide variety of shapes, colors, faces and expressions. My current favorite: A blue-and-orange striped one with pink, heart-shaped glasses.

3. Show me your skills--Although it's true that the "Denpa" men and women have nothing on the cast of Final Fantasy V thanks to their extremely limited skill sets (each character learns just one skill), it doesn't much matter while tackling this eShop title. That's both because of the breadth of skills--such as "heal," "revive," "snowstorm" and "summer sun"--made available to players and because of the enormous size of THE "DENPA" MEN's parties. (More on that in a second.)

4. A new meaning to the phrase "giving head"--If you'd asked me before I played THE "DENPA" MEN for the first time if I'd prefer to hurl an avalanche of rocks at my opponents or slam into them using my characters' hard-as-granite noggins, I'd surely have gone with the former. Now that I've spent some quality time with the game, though, I can assure you the latter is far more exciting.

5. The more, the merrier--So, back to the enormous size of this game's parties: At them moment, my party is made up of eight "Denpa" men of various skills, shapes and sizes. Don't worry if that sounds more than a tad unwieldy; it isn't. Please note, by the way, that I'm seemingly only halfway through this portable adventure, so it's possible my party will get even bigger before all is said and done.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Get your iPads, iPhones and iPods ready, guys and gals: THE 'DENPA' MEN soundtrack is now available on iTunes

Any of you who follow me on Twitter likely already know that I'm enjoying the ever-loving hell out of Genius Sonority's THE "DENPA" MEN: They Came By Wave.

I'll be sharing some in-depth impressions of this 3DS eShop RPG in a post that will be published tomorrow morning, but in the meantime I thought some of you might like to know that the game's wonderfully jaunty soundtrack is now available via iTunes. ($9.99 for the whole she-bang--a whopping 32 tracks--or $.99 per song.)

All of the songs that appear on THE "DENPA" MEN's soundtrack were brought to life by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Basiscape, by the way. A sampling of Sakimoto's past efforts, in case some of you aren't up to snuff when it comes to this Kagoshima-born composer and arranger: Chip Chan Kick!Final Fantasy Tactics, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, Radiant Silvergun and Vagrant Story.

Full disclosure: I likely won't be buying THE "DENPA" MEN soundtrack myself, but that's not because I think it's a stinker. Rather, I'm just not sure I'll spend much time listening to it--especially since I've already heard most of the songs over and over again while playing the game itself.