Friday, October 04, 2013

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Hometown Story edition)

When it comes to the systems that I already own and actually play (i.e., the 3DS), there are only a few games I'm looking to pick up between now and the end of the year.

One of them is Pokémon X. Another is Hometown Story, the adorable-looking life-simulation game made by Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada.

I've had the latter pre-ordered since Amazon first allowed me to do so a month or two ago, and I absolutely can't wait for it to arrive on my doorstep sometime between Oct. 22 (when it's due to be released in North America) and the end of the month.

In the meantime, I thought it might be nice to devote a "Which Box Art is Better?" post to this title--especially since the cover art for the Japanese version (releasing on Dec. 12) finally found its way onto the Internet yesterday.

Speaking of the Japanese version's box art, here it is:

And here is its North American counterpart:

Sadly, I've yet to come across the European iteration's cover art. Of course, the game doesn't have a solid release date in that region yet (just "Q1 2014"), so maybe that's why.

Anyway, which piece of box art do you like best?

Me, I like both of them--although if I were forced to say I preferred one over the other, I'd probably go with the Japanese option. I like that it's less cluttered than the North American one (which has far too many logos and call-outs) and I also like its central illustration is softer and more focused.

Buy: Hometown Story

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Yep, another art post: 'Bombs Away,' 'Hyrule Intentions' and 'Tale of Two Brothers'

Like any respectable gay gamer, I've long had a soft spot for female protagonists. In particular, I've had a soft spot for Nintendo's leading ladies--Peach, Samus and Zelda, especially.

All of which should help explain why I went a big gaga after I came across artist Kasey Tararuj's uniquely styled portraits (above and below) of the above-mentioned women this past weekend.

Each piece was produced for the 3NES Show ("a tribute to three of Nintendo's most popular games") held at the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, a few weeks ago.

If you like any or all of them as much as I do, I'd highly recommend checking out Tararuj's blog, One-Eyed Girl, for closer looks at them.

Specifically, additional shots of her take on Peach (titled "Tale of Two Brothers") can be seen here, while more shots of her Samus and Zelda portraits ("Bombs Away" and "Hyrule Intentions") can be seen here and here, respectively.

And if you're really interested in them? Head on over to the Bottleneck Gallery's online shop and buy one or more of them. ("Bombs Away" can be purchased here, "Hyrule Intentions" here and "Tale of Two Brothers" here.)

See also: 'Cherry on Top' and 'Dreamy Mushroom Munchers'

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Let's take a moment to bask in the beauty and brilliance that is Kirby: Triple Deluxe's trailer

I know what some of you are thinking: How about we bask in the brilliance that is Super Mario 3D World's latest trailer?

Well, yes, I think that would be a worthy endeavor, too, but everyone and his or her mother (OK, maybe that's pushing it) already are raving about the shiny new Super Mario 3D World trailer that was included in yesterday's trio of Nintendo Direct broadcasts, so I thought I'd focus on the trailer that was shown for the upcoming 3DS game that's currently known as Kirby: Triple Deluxe instead.

Here's the trailer, in case any of you have yet to see it:

I'm sure some will say Kirby: Triple Deluxe looks a bit too similar to Kirby's Return to Dream Land, which hit the Wii back in 2011, and I can't disagree with those statements. That said, I really liked the look of that Kirby release, so if Triple Deluxe (or whatever it winds up being called) resembles it graphically in the end, I'm more than OK with that.

At the moment, though, I do think this trailer showcases some subtle differences to the look and feel of Return to Dream Land that should even appeal to folks who got their fill of that particular kind of Kirby adventure. Case in point: this title's softer, more textured backdrops, which seem to exist somewhere between those found in Return to Dream Land and the ones that appeared in Kirby's Epic Yarn.

And then there's Kirby's ability to leap between background layers. Sure, it's been done many times before (hello, Donkey Kong Country Returns), but I've always liked that particular platforming mechanic, so I'm guessing it'll be a fun addition to Triple Deluxe, too.

Anyway, hopefully I'm not alone in looking forward to the 2014 release of this 3DS game?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A few brief thoughts on the latest trio of Nintendo Direct broadcasts

I don't know about you, but the very first thing I did after waking up this morning was check out the Nintendo Directs that were made available to Japanese and North American audiences a few hours ago. (I skipped the European one because I assumed it would be a rehash, more or less, of the other two.)

Anyway, here are a few brief thoughts on the above-mentioned broadcasts (watch the North American one here, and the Japanese one here):

(Sort of) surprisingly, Super Mario 3D World looks smashing--Although I wasn't all that interested in Super Mario 3D World following the game's unveiling at this year's E3, I'm pretty darn interested in it now. Some of the levels shown during today's Nintendo Direct looked absolutely stunning--and, more importantly, looked like a lot of fun, too. The question is: will I ever get my husband to play it along with me? Thankfully, I have a feeling it'll be a blast while played solo, too.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze delayed--The only news related to this Wii U title is that it's release--originally scheduled for later this year--has been pushed to February. That doesn't bother me too much, as I'm not planning on picking it up (I liked Donkey Kong Country Returns, but not enough to buy a sequel), but I know a lot of people were hoping to get their paws on it this holiday season.

The 3DS is really going to suck next year--In a good way, that is--thanks to the new Kirby game that's scheduled for release at some point in 2014. Anyway, this latest entry in the long-running Kirby series--which I believe will be called Kirby: Triple Deluxe in Japan--looks a lot like Kirby's Return to Dream Land, which is a very good thing, in my opinion. That said, I wouldn't mind at all if Nintendo announced a follow-up to Kirby's Epic Yarn for Wii U sometime next year.

Looks like I'll get my yearly dose of Daigasso! Band Brothers sooner than expected--The highlight of the Japanese Nintendo Direct (which covered a lot of the same ground as its North American counterpart) for yours truly: the news that this third entry in the Daigasso! Band Brothers series--called Daigasso! Band Brothers P--will hit the streets in its home country on Nov. 14. Unfortunately, that's about all I got out of this portion of the broadcast--although I think the major revelation here was supposed to be that folks will be able to go on line to access or download a ton of additional tunes. That aspect of the title likely will be lost on me, but that's OK--the 100 or so songs that are supposed to be included on the cart should be more than enough for me.

To those of you who also checked out one or more of this morning's Nintendo Direct broadcasts: which games stuck out at you, if any?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Calling all present and future Vita owners: here's a Q&A about DanganRonpa that's worth a peek

I'm going to have a very interesting decision to make once Sony finally gets around to announcing the Vita TV's North American release: am I going to buy one of those sleek (and cheap) micro-consoles--along with a handful of games, of course--or am I going to buy a regular ol' Vita?

Regardless, I think the writing is on the wall that I'm going to buy a Vita in some form over the next 12 months or so--thanks in large part to the release of delicious-looking games like Spike Chunsoft's DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.

Speaking of which, DieHard GameFan's Joshua Moore recently picked the brains of two Nippon Ichi Software of America staffers about their employer's decision to localize this enhanced remake of the first DanganRonpa title, which achieved a respectable amount of attention from Japanese PSP owners all the way back in 2010.

A few of the passages of this Q&A--with Phoenix Spaulding, the NISA editor working on the project, and David Alonzo, the company's marketing coordinator--that particularly stuck out for me:

Spaulding on why NISA decided to work on this title--"We’d been doing a lot with the Vita and wanted to do something that was a little bit outside of our normal wheelhouse. The tone is really different from anything we’ve done and the gameplay is different, but we saw with 999 and Virtue's Last Reward that there’s an audience [for this type of game], not just in Japan, but an establishing audience here as well."

Spaulding on DanganRonpa's being like 999 mixed with Phoenix Wright--"In terms of style, I guess that closest thing that a lot of people would know would be the Phoenix Wright games, where there’s sort of two components: the research and investigative part, and the trial portion. It’s sort of an information game where you have to keep track of a lot of details and look for those little points in the game." Also, like 999 and Virtue's Last Reward, the tone and style are "very dark, where you can’t really trust anyone and your life is on the line, while you’re sort of under pressure to figure out what’s going on."

Spaulding on the title's "hardcore gameplay"--"A lot of people tend to describe [the game] as sort of a visual novel, or that kind of thing, but I think people will be surprised that there’s a lot of hardcore gameplay elements that people don’t realize: there’s a lot of timing-based stuff, once you get to the class trial you’re not just sitting there. It’s very active, you have to be paying attention. There’s a lot more than just sitting there reading a lot of text."

To read the full comments of Spaulding and Alonzo, direct your browser of choice to

DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc will be released in both Europe and North America--and in both digital and physical formats, I believe--in early 2014, courtesy of NISA. Pre-order the boxed US version here.