Friday, February 27, 2015

This deluxe Hatsune Miku 'plush pouch' is making me want to do bad things ... with my wallet

What business does a guy like me, a guy who doesn't own a single Hatsune Miku game (although I'll have two shortly), have desiring something as fan-focused as the "deluxe plush pouch" showcased in the photo below?

I don't know. All I know is that I think it's fantastically adorable and that I want one--despite the fact that my life currently is one, big "Hatsune Miku-free zone."

To be honest, though, I have a feeling I'll chicken out on buying one when all is said and done. After all, the darn things are going to cost about $35, if not more, and that's before shipping is included.

Still, it comes with the most precious little sushi-themed screen cleaner (also pictured above), and that alone has to be worth about $10 or $15, right?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I hope you're up for a little more MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura (PSP) love

Early last week, I published a post in which I blathered on and on and on about the stupendously sparkly--and purple--PSP that my pal, Jess (he of the Kiblitzing blog), recently bought and sent to me.

A small handful of photos were included in the above-mentioned post, and two of them featured peeks at the complete-in-box copy of MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura that I recently picked up.

This Monster Hunter spin-off--which is supposed to have a sort of Animal Crossing feel to it, not that I would know--is worth more than just a passing glance, so today I'm giving it a bit more attention.

Specifically, I'm giving its box art, UMD label and instruction manual a bit more attention.

Fun fact: I could've bought the follow-up of this game, called MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura G, for pretty much the same amount of money I spent on the copy highlighted throughout this post, but I went with Capcom's original effort because I prefer its cover art.

The game's UMD features art that's nearly as adorable, if you ask me. You may not be able to tell in the fairly crappy photo above, but the Poogie that sits just to the left of the MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura logo is wearing a watermelon-themed outfit.

The backside of MonHun Nikki: Poka Poka Airu Mura's instruction manual is beyond cute, too--or at least I think it is.

Sadly, that's about all I can say about this Japan-only release at the moment, as I've yet to even pop it into my beautifully purple PSP. I'm going to do my best to rectify that soon, though, as once I do, I'll share my thoughts on it here (probably in a future installment of my "Shall We Do It?" series).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#ADecadeofDS: Maestro! Jump in Music

Amount of time devoted to this game in the last week--One hour, 38 minutes.

Most recent boss toppled, location reached or milestone achieved--I finished all 24 of the game's stages (each of which is backed by a different tune, from "ABC" to Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5") at least once, but only on the "easy" difficulty level.

Overall comments on the experience--If I were forced to sum up my impressions of this import-only music game in just one word, the word I'd choose would be "sigh."

That's because Maestro! Jump in Music has so many things going for it--the most noteworthy being its Disney-esque art style, which loses nothing in its translation to the DS' low-res screens, and its admirably diverse soundtrack--yet a few flubs keep it from being the thoroughly enjoyable experience it really should be. Even worse, these missteps actually make the game kind of frustrating--to the point that I'm not sure I'll spend as much time playing this one as I imagined I would before I bought it.

The main misstep, in my opinion: the touch-screen-centric gameplay (the pink bird shown on the cover art above walks from left to right across the screen, which is made up of a series of strings, and you "pluck" them along with music to make him jump, nab items and the like) on offer here isn't always the most responsive.

Actually, it's responsive enough when there aren't a ton of strings to pluck, items to grab or baddies to tap, but when things speed up or the screen becomes too densely packed, things deteriorate pretty rapidly. (As in, it becomes seemingly impossible to do everything you need to do to perfect, and sometimes just to complete, a particular level.)

Another of Maestro's missteps: for me, it features a few too many gameplay elements. Plucking strings so your feathered friend can nab items or change paths is fun, as is tapping certain enemies along with the beat (Taiko no Tatsujin-style, basically), but some of the other elements are far less so.

Specifically, near the end of the game, there are stages (or portions of stages) during which you have to repeatedly strum (rub) a number of strings, while in other stages you have to make continuous circular motions with your stylus--and neither activity ends up being very enjoyable or effective.

That said, the Simon Says-ish boss battles that pop up every fourth stage are a real breath of fresh air and rarely frustrate or annoy, so you'll always have those to look forward to (even if some of the levels that precede them don't enamor you).

Will I continue to play this game in the coming days, weeks and maybe even months?--I'll likely come back to it every now and then so I can experience some of my favorite stages a second, third or even fourth time, but other stages I'll avoid like the plague from here on out--which means I'll probably never play through the entire game again. Which is too bad, as it's a top-notch product in almost every way and it really should have been a much more enticing experience than it has been so far.

Do I recommend it to others?--Considering complete-in-box copies are somewhat pricey, and not all that easy to find outside of Europe (the only region that earned a physical release of the game, I believe), and considering playing it is a hit-and-miss affair, I don't think I would, unfortunately. If you tend to go totally bonkers for music or rhythm games, though, it may still be worth your while.

Next up--Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales

See also: previous 'A Decade of DS' posts

Monday, February 23, 2015

It looks like I'll be getting my second Vita game sooner rather than later

Which game am I alluding to in the header above? Why, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines, of course--which will be released in North America on March 3 (and in Europe on the following day).

I'm a bit bummed that Oreshika won't be getting a physical (boxed) release in either of the above-mentioned regions, but I'm far less bummed than I'd be if the game weren't being released at all.

Plus, Oreshika will cost just $19.99 upon release in North America, and €19.99 in Europe, so it's hard to complain too much about the situation surrounding the localization of this lovely looking RPG.

Oh, and in case I haven't said so here already (I know I've mentioned at least part of the following somewhere on line in the last few weeks, but I can't remember where), I recently bought a Vita. More specifically, one of the Japanese pink-and-white Vita 2000 systems, as they're sometimes called.

And just before I bought that Vita, I bought a Vita game--with the game in question being the first Danganronpa, of course.

Anyway, the Vita is due to be dropped on my doorstep any day now, and as soon as that happens I'll let everyone know via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and here, although not necessarily in that order.

In the meantime, are any of you planning to buy Oreshika--either at launch or at some point down the road?