Friday, October 26, 2012

A somewhat gay review of THE 'DENPA' MEN: They Came By Wave (3DS)

Game: THE '"DENPA" MEN: They Came By Wave
Genre: RPG/Dungeon-Crawler
Developer: Genius Sonority
Publisher: Genius Sonority
System: 3DS
Release date: 2012

THE "DENPA" MEN is often described as being "a lot like Dragon Quest." Although the comparison is apt, it's also a bit simplistic.

After all, although the two games sport similar battle engines, senses of humor and straightforward (some might say non-existant) stories, they're otherwise pretty unique.

THE "DENPA" MEN, for instance, lacks the kind of sprawling overworld often included in Dragon Quest games. Although I initially considered that to be a negative, over time I came to the realization that it sped things up considerably--which is a positive in this case because it allows you to zoom from the hub island to your next destination (always a dungeon)  and back again with a blink of an eye.

Also, although both THE "DENPA" MEN and Dragon Quest feature lightning-fast battle scenes, I've found those of the former to be a lot more fun than the latter thus far. (And this is coming from someone  who loves Dragon Quest's battle sequences.) In part, that's due to THE "DENPA" MEN's wacky character designs, I'm sure, but it's also due to what those wacky characters do during said scenes. Case in point: When a player prompts his "Denpa" men to "Fight" rather than use magic, said party members race toward selected baddies and attempt to headbutt them into oblivion--an action that's even more entertaining than it sounds.

Speaking of THE "DENPA" MEN's battles: Something that sets them apart from those found in many other RPGs (both old and new) is how malleable they are. For instance, you can hit your 3DS' X or Y buttons and let the game's AI choose your options for you (X orders the AI to not use any "skills" (magic, basically), while Y gives it the freedom to do as it wishes), you can assign specific tasks to each individual "Denpa" man or you can mix and match your commands.

Last, but surely not least, THE "DENPA" MEN differentiates itself from its dragon-centric counterpart by having players scan their real-life environment (using the 3DS' AR capabilities) to catch their multi-colored party members. It sounds kind of lame in theory, but in practice it's surprisingly enjoyable (and addictive). Not only that, but it basically gives you access to an unlimited array of playable characters, which isn't something that can be said of many RPGs.

One thing THE "DENPA" MEN doesn't offer that the Dragon Quest games do is a top-shelf soundtrack. That's not to suggest that the music in this Genius Sonority-made eShop title is terrible; rather, it's to suggest that, for the most part, it merely gets the job done. (It must be said, though, that the main battle theme is pretty darn good.)

With all of this chatter about how this 10-dollar digital release does and doesn't compare to one of the best RPGs ever made out of the way, you're probably wondering if I think it's worth picking up or not. The short answer to that question is: Yes. A slightly longer response, though, is: Yes, if you tend to enjoy the genre and if you don't mind a (sometimes rather stiff) challenge.

See also: Previous posts about THE 'DENPA' MEN and 'somewhat gay' reviews

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Style Savvy: Trendsetters edition)

Earlier this week, Nintendo of America released for the 3DS the long-awaited (by yours truly, at least) sequel to its fashion-focused DS game, Style Savvy.

In honor of that release, I decided to devote an entire "Which Box Art is Better?" post to it and its international counterparts.

Japanese gamers got their hands on the title first (on Sept. 27), so let's start with it. It's known as Wagamama Fashion Girls Mode Yokubari Sengen in its home market, by the way, and it sports a pleasantly colorful piece of cover art.

The box art created for the North American version, which is called Style Savvy: Trendsetters, on the other hand is decidedly less captivating.

Not that the art that's set to grace covers of the European iteration--which will be branded New Style Boutique and which will hit store shelves on Nov. 16--is any more interesting:

Those of you who have been paying attention likely have figured out that the Japanese box art is by far my favorite. Do you agree, or do you prefer the art that was created for its European or North American  counterparts?

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Returning to the Corpse Party: 'Book of Shadows' is coming to North America

And not only that, but Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is coming to North America sometime "this winter."

Oh, and this digital PSP title will be brought here by the fabulous folks at Xseed Games. (They're fabulous because not only did they bring the original Corpse Party to our region late last year, but they've also brought a trio of similarly unique Wii games to the North American masses over the last few years: Fragile Dreams, Ivy the Kiwi? and Little King's Story.)

Don't worry, European Corpse Party fans--Book of Shadows is coming your way, too. Unfortunately, the closest Xseed staffers will come to a release date in your neck of the woods at the moment is "sometime shortly after" the game hits the streets on our shores.

For a brief glimpse at what you can expect to experience in Corpse Party: Book of Shadows once it's finally added to your region's iteration of PSN, check out the just-released teaser trailer (above and here).

Confession time: I'm picking this up day one despite the fact that I've yet to beat the first game. I didn't stop (well) short of Corpse Party's end credits because I disliked anything about it, mind you. Rather, I got stuck at one point and refused to head to GameFAQs for a solution. Shortly after I reached that impasse, it fell off my radar due to the release of some other title I can't remember right now.

Anyway, I'll get back to that ghoulish adventure eventually. Whether that happens before or after I add Book of Shadows to my PSP collection, though, is another question entirely.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Acquisition #145: Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone (3DS)

Two weeks ago, I mentioned (in this post) that I'm eagerly looking forward to a number of 3DS games that will be released in North America before the end of the year.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star is just one of those titles, of course. A few of the others: Crosswords Plus (which hit the streets on Oct. 1, actually), Freakyforms Deluxe (due out on Nov. 5) and even Style Savvy: Trendsetters (Oct. 22).

Oh, and let's not forget Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone, which also arrived on North American store shelves on Oct. 1, interestingly enough.

Did I pick up the copy seen in the photos shared here on day one? Actually, I would have, if I could have found one in any of the stores near my home. Since I couldn't, I ordered a copy from Amazon instead.

As is far too often the case these days, I've yet to put through Art Academy: Lessons for Everyone through its paces--although that has nothing to do with any kind of lack of interest in it on my part. Rather, I've just been too busy with other things (work, mainly) to pop it into my 3DS.

I promise to give it a go soon, though, and as soon as I do I'll share a few impressions (or maybe even a full-blown "Great Gaymathon" review) here.

See also: Previous 'Acquisition #123' posts

Monday, October 22, 2012

Manual Stimulation: The Berlin Wall (Game Gear)

I have to be honest here: The main reason I'm dedicating a "Manual Stimulation" post to this particular instruction manual is its last two pages.

Also, I'm pretty sure scans of this game's manual are fairly hard to come by in the English-speaking portion of the Internet.

That's not to say The Berlin Wall's instruction manual is a dud. Actually, it's quite nice thanks in large part to the adorable illustrations that pop up here and there.

Those illustrations are present on the front cover of this import-only Game Gear title's manual, unsurprisingly enough, but they're also present on its back cover, which I think is a nice change of pace.

They can be found on its first few pages (above), too, which help spruce things up a bit.

Strangely, illustrations aren't used to tell The Berlin Wall's backstory (above). Instead, in-game visuals are given that task.