Saturday, September 14, 2013

Four reasons I'm stoked Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is getting a sequel

So, the folks at Square Enix decided to throw fans of dedicated handhelds a bone--you know, as opposed to announcing yet another iOS-based game--earlier this week when they revealed that a new Theatrhythm Final Fantasy title will be released for the 3DS (in Japan only, for the moment) next spring.

According to and other sources, the game in question--to be called Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call--will include over 200 songs and more than 60 characters, as well as some sort of multiplayer battle mode.

Little else is known about Curtain Call at the moment, but to be completely honest I don't need to know anything more about it to know I'm going to buy a copy of it as soon as it's available.

Why am I so stoked about this Theatrhythm follow-up? Here are the four main reasons:

1. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the first game's art style--Believe it or not, but Theatrhythm Final Fantasy's art style is what drew my attention to the title in the first place. I'm sure some people abhor its paper-doll-like character designs, in particular, but I love them. In fact, I've love them so much I'd kill to see them in some sort of Final Fantasy spin-off--for handhelds or even consoles, not for mobile--that harkens back to the series' earlier releases (such as Final Fantasy IV, V or VI).

2. I can't wait to experience more of this series' unique brand of gameplay--Although initially I was a bit skeptical of Theatrhythm's gameplay, it quickly made a believer out of me. As is the case with the best rhythm titles around (hello, Rhythm Tengoku), at its peak Theatrhythm's screen-tapping and stylus-sliding gameplay feels like it's wired directly into your brain.

3. I want to be able to play as some of the characters that were overlooked in the original Theatrhythm--Seriously, where was Rosa (from Final Fantasy IV)? Or Lenna (from Final Fantasy V)? How about Edgar (from Final Fantasy VI)? Do I think we'll see each of them--along with a few of the series' more "out there" characters, like Gogo, Palom, Porom or Umaro--in Curtain Call? Not really, but it sure would be nice to see at least a couple of them.

4. I'm expecting an even greater soundtrack the second time around--Specifically, I'm hoping this iteration will feature more than one version of the Chocobo theme. Gaining access to some or all of the series' airship themes would be awesome, too. Thankfully, I have a feeling the latter is pretty likely given the screenshot above.

Are any of you also looking forward to this 3DS title? If so, let me know why in the comments section below.

See also: 'The Great Gaymathon Review #58: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)'

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dear Sony: bring Over My Dead Body 2 to the States and I'll finally buy a PS Vita

True story: I've been eyeing up copies of the original, PlayStation release of Over My Dead Body (aka Ore no Shikabane wo Koete Yuke or Oreshika) for ages now.

Why haven't I bought one yet? Because Oreshika looks to be a rather convoluted JRPG--albeit a beautiful one--and I'm just not sure I have it in me to try to stumble through such a game anytime soon. (A summary of its intriguing plot, via "A lineage of demon-hunters is cursed to live, age and die within a single year's span. A twelve-year campaign against the lord of demons thus becomes a matter for the generations.)

Anyway, I have a feeling I'm going to have a similarly tough time resisting Alfa System's upcoming sequel once it's finally released for the Vita sometime next year.

In large part, that's because the sequel looks absolutely stunning--as evidenced by the following, just-released screenshots:

Assuming Over My Dead Body 2's story and gameplay is even a smidge as impressive as its graphics, well, I think it's safe to say it's going to be hard for me to pass up this sucker--even if I don't yet know (much) Japanese and if I don't yet own a Vita.

Of course, Sony's North American arm could solve both of those problems by localizing and releasing the game here--but, really, what are the chances of that happening?

See also: more amazing Over My Dead Body 2 screenshots

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I know next to nothing about Puyo Puyo Tetris, yet I'm planning to pre-order the 3DS version as soon as someone allows me to do so

Before I go into what Puyo Puyo Tetris is (or what little I know of it, at least) and why I want it so badly, let me say that the next six months are going to be terrible both for my wallet and my marriage.

That's because I'm planning to pick up a ton of 3DS games, both North American and Japanese, within that time frame, such as Bravely Default, Daigasso! Band Bros. P, Game Center CX 3, Hometown Story, Pokemon X/Y and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call--and that doesn't even include possibles/probables like Mario & Luigi: Dream Team and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

As of yesterday, Puyo Puyo Tetris has been added to that lengthy list despite the fact that I don't know much about it yet. What I do know about it sounds pretty interesting, though--such as that its "Classic" mode allows gamers to choose either Puyo Puyo or Tetris, while its "Swap" mode forces them to switch between the two every few seconds (or is it minutes?).

Take the info above with a grain of salt, by the way. All that's known about the title so far comes from folks on various sites (NeoGAF, among them) who have taken a stab at translating the Japanese text included in these Famitsu magazine scans and found on

Of course, how much do we really need to know about a game like this? It's Puyo Puyo and Tetris--it's going to be awesome regardless of how the folks at Sega toss them together. So, consider me on board--even though I'm not a big fan of the its generically adorable art style. (I much prefer the art style employed in the series' earliest offerings.)

Are any of you also pining for a little Puyo Puyo Tetris action in your lives? If so, which version would you most like to play--the one planned for the 3DS, the PS3 (shown above), the Vita or the Wii U?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy belated birthday, Dreamcast!

I know I'm a few days late with this, but it's been quite a week in my household--work stuff (blarg)--and as a result neither my heart nor my brain have quite been in the blogging game, if you get my drift.

Regardless, I'll be damned if I'm going to let the 14th anniversary of the Dreamcast's North American release go by without a (belated) mention.

(No worries if math isn't your forte--the info above means the Dreamcast hit store shelves in this region on Sept. 9, 1999.)

Although I'm sure I seem like a Nintendo fanboy from time to time, the reality is that I'm an equal opportunity gamer. As much as I've loved my Nintendo-made consoles and handhelds over the years, I've loved my NEC- and Sony- and, yes, Sega-made systems just as much.

In fact, I count the Dreamcast and its predecessor (the Sega Saturn) among my all-time favorite consoles--no small feat when you consider the Famicom, PC Engine, PlayStation, PS2 and Super Famicom are their main sources of competition.

I was completely obsessed with the Dreamcast before it was released, by the way. I think that was due, in part, to the fact that its design reminded me a bit of the original PC Engine (still the best console design of all time, in my humble opinion).

It also was due to the console's promise of perfect arcade ports (see: Crazy Taxi, The House of the Dead 2, Power Stone and Virtua Tennis) and arcade-like originals (Jet Set RadioSonic Adventure and Space Channel 5, among many, many others).

Anyway, I bought one at launch--using the money I'd made from selling my Japanese Sega Saturn and games (doh!)--and loved the hell out of it until I briefly stopped gaming a few years later.

Thankfully, I didn't get rid of any of my Dreamcast titles during that college-induced gaming drought. (I did lose or sell my Dreamcast system, though--or maybe my older brother claimed it? I wish I could remember.)

I still regularly pull out those games--ChuChu Rocket!, Crazy TaxiPower StoneSpace Channel 5 and Virtua Tennis, especially--and play them on the (second) Dreamcast I acquired a couple of years ago, actually--and I even add a new title or two to my collection every once in a while.

Do any of you have similarly fond memories of Sega's final console? Also, so you still play any of its games? If so, which ones? Let me and other Dreamcast fans know all about them in the comments section below.

See also: 'Happy belated 30th birthday, Nintendo Famicom and Sega SG-1000!'

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I've got to admit, I'm intrigued by the PS Vita TV (and the PS Vita 2000, too)

For the woefully uninformed: during a press conference early yesterday, Sony's Japanese arm unveiled a new PS Vita model--to be called the PS Vita 2000--as well as something known as the PS Vita TV.

The former will be 20 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the original PS Vita, according to the chaps at Oh, and it'll ditch the first model's much-slobbered-over OLED screen in favor of an LCD one while bumping up the handheld's battery life by an hour and built-in memory to a full gigabyte.

The PS Vita TV, on the other hand, is a screen-less, button-less Vita that, when plugged into your favorite TV, with allow you to play most of the same games a regular Vita can--from (some) physical Vita carts to digital Vita, PSP and PSone titles--using a PS3 controller.

There's more to both systems than what I've just mentioned, of course--such as the PS Vita 2000 (pictured below) will hit the streets of Japan on Oct. 10 and will cost about $190, while the PS Vita TV will be released in that region on Nov. 14 carrying a price tag of approximately $100--but I don't really feel like going into all of that here. If you'd like to know more, though, may I recommend clicking here (for an official press release about the PS Vita 2000) or here (for a press release about the PS Vita TV)?

No, what I want to do here is talk about my interest in both of these systems. Does that mean I'm going to buy one or both of them in the end? Of course not, but I'm definitely considering it.

It shouldn't be much of a surprise to hear that I'm intrigued by the PS Vita 2000, of course, as I've mentioned on many occasions that I'd like to own a Vita and a number of its games at some point.

That said, there's only two reasons I'd pick up a PS Vita 2000 over the original model at this point: the former's lower price, and the fact that it's available (or will be in Japan) in pink.

Unlike most folks, I don't much care if my future Vita system has an OLED screen or an LED one, so that trade-off (some would say downgrade) doesn't bother me in the least.

As for the oddly named PS Vita TV (pictured below): the interest there is that it's an appealingly sleek--and tiny--system that would allow me to play certain PSP and Vita games on my not-at-all-high-end television using an actual controller.

The last bit of that sentence is a bigger deal for me than you may think, as my hands have been all but tortured by the PSP's d-pad and analog nub while playing much-loved games like Cladun: This is an RPG, Hot Shots Tennis: Get a Grip and Patchwork Heroes over the last few years.

If I were to guess, I'd say that it's far more likely that I'll pick up a Vita of some sort than a PS Vita TV, but it's hard to say for sure at this point in time.

How about all of you? Were any of you wowed by the PS Vita 2000 or the PS Vita TV to the point that you can see yourself buying one or both of them in the near or distant future? If so, what aspects or features make you feel that way?

And if you weren't blown away by Sony's latest announcements, what was it that disappointed--or bored--you?

Monday, September 09, 2013

Kaneko's Peetan: another import-only GameBoy title I desperately want to own

Despite the headline above, I'm not at all sure if this obscure, Japanese GameBoy puzzler should be called Peetan, Piitan or Pitan.

Based on what I've learned about katakana so far, I'd be far more likely to use either Pitan (perhaps with a macron over the "i") or Piitan than Peetan, but since the double-e version seems to be the most common usage on the good ol' Interwebs, I'll go with it here, too.

Anyway, who really cares how you're supposed to spell the game's name? The real reason you're reading this is to find out why I want to own it, right?

My response: it's a single-screen action-puzzler that stars a bunch of cute chicks--and I'm not talking about the kind who have big chests and wear tight skirts.

It helps, of course, that Peetan was produced by the fine folks at Kaneko, who also had a hand in making the similarly obscure Game Gear title called The Berlin Wall.

Sadly, I doubt I'll be buying a copy of this one anytime soon, as I've yet to see one pop up on ebay or any of the online Japanese game shops that I frequent, so while you wait for that to happen you might want to check out the video above as well as Retro Collect's admirably thorough review.