Friday, May 03, 2013

Ten questions with the makers of THE 'DENPA' MEN 2: Beyond the Waves

You may have heard the news, revealed yesterday, that THE "DENPA" MEN 2: Beyond the Waves will hit the North American (and European) 3DS eShops on May 30.

If not, well, you've heard it now.

Anticipating that announcement, I recently reached out to the company behind this series of portable RPGs, Genius Sonority, and asked if someone there would be willing to answer a few questions about it. Surprisingly, someone agreed--with that someone being CEO Manabu Yamana.

Before I get to the meat of our little tête-à-tête, I have to point out what Yamana said when I asked if he and his colleagues at Genius Sonority were happy with the first game's North American sales. "We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from users and the media," he shared, "but unfortunately, we had some trouble with PR and getting the word out, so we were not able to tie the positive feedback into sufficient sales."

Thankfully, the company decided to localize THE "DENPA" MEN 2: Beyond the Waves despite the original's seemingly disappointing sales.

Speaking of Beyond the Waves, read on to hear what Yamana has to say about this soon-to-be-released (with an $11.99 price tag attached to it) digital title--including whether or not this iteration will feature a few more female characters than the first and whether or not it will allow gamers to scan QR codes created in other regions.

The Gay Gamer: I've read that you made quite a few changes while creating THE "DENPA" MEN 2. For instance, there's an overworld this time around and also at least one town for players to explore. Why did you decide to make these changes? Also, are there any others that you hope people will find interesting?

Yamana: We were already thinking of including an overworld in the sequel when we were making the first game. We created the first game with the aim of getting people acquainted with the series, so we didn’t include too many complex elements and we used a simple and fun system that consisted of battling monsters.

This time, a lot of the players will be familiar with the first game, so we included an overworld map to walk around on, in order to create the sense of a bigger world.

We’ve also visualized equipment this time, so you can have fun dressing up your Denpa Men any way you like, and you can even take pictures of them. You can also enjoy fishing in the sea and in rivers, and cultivate plants this time.

We’ve also added dungeons that use the StreetPass function, and you can fight other players on line as well, so there are a lot of new things for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

And May's 'Bye-Bye, Backlog' selections are ...

... Crimson Shroud, Fire Emblem: Awakening and maybe Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. I'm also hoping to wrap up my EarthBound playthrough.

I know, none of the above-mentioned titles were included on the list I mentioned in this post, but all of them are fairly recent additions to my gaming backlog, so I'm going to do my best to tackle them this month (while I also continue to chip away at Super Mario Sunshine, of course).

Will I "beat" all of them? I highly doubt it, but I'll give it my best shot.

The main reason I'm attempting to play through so many of my backlogged games between now and the end of May, by the way: I'm fully expecting THE "DENPA" MEN 2: Beyond the Waves (releasing on May 30) and Animal Crossing: New Leaf (due out on June 9) to hog my attention throughout the month of June.

Anyway, have any of you fine folks played any of the three 3DS games mentioned at the top of this post? If so, what do you think of them?

See also: previous 'Bye-Bye, Backlog' posts

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

My Month with Super Mario Sunshine, Part 4

Considering my initially negative reaction to Super Mario Sunshine, I think it's pretty amazing that I lived up to my promise and played it throughout the month of April.

Even more amazing: I'm still playing it, and I'm not planning on stopping anytime soon. I doubt I'll write about it after today, though--outside of an eventual "Great Gaymathon" review, I mean--so I thought I'd wrap things up with a post about the five aspects of this GameCube title that I've come to love the most. Here they are:

1. The secret stages--Everyone seems to say these FLUDD-less levels are by far the best in the game. I don't entirely agree with that (because I think a number of the "regular" ones are stellar, too), but I definitely agree they're pretty great. Sure, they make my palms sweat as much as any other game I've ever played, but that just adds to the ecstasy I feel when I finally conquer one.

2. "The Sand Bird is Born"--Speaking of sweaty palms, when I first encountered this Gelato Beach stage, I was pretty sure I'd never beat it. That was OK with me, though, as the idea of playing it over and over and over again brought me more joy than you can imagine. What can I say? There's something magical about a level that takes place on the back (and side) of a soaring bird made of blocks of sand. 

3. "The Wilted Sunflowers"--I wasn't sure if I should include this stage or the "Wiggler Ahoy" one from Gelato Beach when I started writing this post a few days ago. Because I already covered Gelato Beach in the bullet point above, I decided to go with this one, which is part of Pinna Park. Plus, it involves toppling egg-shelled turtles in order to revive wilted sunflowers. That said, I consider both of them to be surprisingly (and pleasantly) unique takes on the "boss battle" formula. 

4. Noki Bay--As much as I love Gelato Beach and Pinna Park, I'm pretty sure Noki Bay is the first world in Super Mario Sunshine that quite literally caused my jaw to drop. To say it's gorgeous is like saying Peach's voice (particularly in this game) is grating. By the way, if the designers and programmers at Nintendo could pull this kind of thing off all the way back in the early 2000s, I'm pretty sure they'll be able pull off some similarly amazing things with the Wii U in the coming years.

5. Yoshi--Yes, Yoshi's inclusion in Super Mario Sunshine is, for the most part, pointless. (Or so I've been told--I'm not sure I'm far enough into the game to say that myself with any assurance.) Still, I'm glad someone pushed for him to be included, as I find riding the little fella around Delfino Plaza to be a joy unto itself.

I know some of you are big fans of Super Mario Sunshine. If that aptly describes you, what are some of your favorite aspects of this summery three-dimensional platformer?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Half-Minute Hero + Protect Me Knight + Ys = Witch and Hero (3DS)

My first encounter with the recently released 3DS eShop title called Witch and Hero (or Witch & Hero, if you get off on ampersands)--which basically involved me stumbling across its fabulously retro logo and a small handful of screenshots--was so positive I was sure it was my cup of tea.

My second run-in with this Circle Entertainment-published game--a write-up that made it seem like little more than an overly simplistic tower-defense title, although in this case you're actually defending a petrified witch, rather a tower, from swarms of enemies--wasn't so favorable, unfortunately, and pretty much convinced me to give it a pass.

Unsurprisingly (given my history as a gaming flip-flopper), the third time I rubbed eyeballs with Witch and Hero--thanks to the second video below--I was pushed to consider it once again.

Even then, though, I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about its asking price. I know $3.99 isn't much, especially in the world of video games, but considering I spent just $4.99 on Crimson Shroud last week, forking over a dollar less for a digital title that at the time appeared to have a lot less content didn't much appeal to me.

So, with that in mind, I contacted the folks at Circle Entertainment and asked if they'd be willing to give me a free (review) copy of the game. Shockingly, they were.

I've since spent about five hours protecting the titular witch (while in the shoes of the pixelated hero also seen in the video above), and let me tell you: I've enjoyed pretty much every second of those five hours. Sure, I've had my ass handed to me once or twice (maybe more) in that time, but that's never frustrated me--mainly because the game barely punishes you for dying.

That's not to suggest Witch and Hero, developed in tandem by Flyhigh Works and FK Digital, is a pushover. On the contrary, although the game sports just 20 stages, I've only made it to the 16th one so far. You see, you don't play this title as you do most others--play a stage, beat it on your first try, move on to the next, beat it on your first try, rinse and repeat. Instead, you may beat a particular stage, move on to the next, find you're overmatched, head back to the previous one, beat it a few more times, earn enough dough to improve your weaponry (or magic) and then return to the previously troublesome one to wreak havoc.

Sound boring and repetitive? Maybe so, but in practice it's anything but--or at least that's been the case for me so far.

It helps, of course, that the game's graphics--which bring to mind those of Half-Minute Hero or even What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?--are as charming as can be, as is its Final Fantasy-esque soundtrack.

There's much more to Witch and Hero than what I've shared here, but I'll save my chatter about them for the "somewhat gay review" that I'm planning to publish next week. In the meantime, I'd highly recommend checking out the videos above if you're at all curious as to what this eShop gem has to offer.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Class (of Heroes 2) is in session

The day all PSP-owning dungeon-crawler fans have been waiting for since early February finally has arrived: boxed copies of the English version of Class of Heroes 2 are now available for purchase at

Initially, I wasn't too pleased with the $36.99 price tag that's been attached to this release, but I've since softened a bit because it includes shipping as well as a physical copy of Class of Heroes 2 and a download code for the digital iteration of this portable RPG.

Anyway, I just handed over my hard-earned cash for a copy. Are any of you planning to do the same before this pre-sale drive ends on May 8?

See also: previous posts about Class of Heroes 2

Thing that probably doesn't need to be said: this Mega Man-themed GameBoy is stunning

In the opinion of yours truly, the only way the custom-pained GameBoy shown off in the photo below could be any cooler would be if the fireballs that surround Mega Man also had been depicted using pixels.

Still, even in its current state, I'd be hard-pressed to call this OSKUNK-made creation anything less than awesome.

A few additional photos of this unquestionably cool GameBoy--including a shot of its appealingly branded backside--can be seen on OSKUNK's blog, by the way.

See also: 'I'm not usually a fan of the black Wii U, but ...'