Friday, April 03, 2015

Raise your hand if you, too, are looking forward to the two new 3DS StreetPass games that are being prepped for release

I know not everyone loves the handful of StreetPass games Nintendo has released for the 3DS so far, but I'm guessing most of those negative feelings are born out of the fact that not enough folks outside of Japan regularly have their 3DSes "on their person," as the saying goes, to make playing these digital titles worthwhile.

Thankfully, I live in a city that's packed with enough people that I nab at least three or four StreetPasses (if not more) every day while commuting to and from work.

As such, I'm pretty darn smitten with each and every one of the StreetPass games that currently are available--and I'm also pretty darn stoked to buy and play the two new ones that will be made available in North America on April 16.

The trailer above offers a peek at both of them--one of which will be known here as Battleground Z, while the other will be known as Ultimate Angler--along with something called "StreetPass Mii Plaza Premium," an app I know next to nothing about at the moment.

It appears that Ultimate Angler was developed by the able team at PROPE, previously responsible for Ivy the Kiwi! and a number of other wonderful games, and Battleground Z was made by Good-Feel, which most recently showed up in the credit roll for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

Will any of you be buying any of the above offerings on day one, or even at some point down the road? If so, let me know which ones in the comments section below and also let me know why you're planning to buy them.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

On or around June 11, I'm going to be all over Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus like dust on an OG 3DS screen

You could say I'm a bit of a fan of Nintendo's Rhythm Tengoku series. After all, not only do I own a copy of its first entry, a Japan-only GameBoy Advance title, but I also own three different copies of that game's DS sequel--its European, Japanese and North America releases, basically--as well as a copy of the back-to-its-roots Rhythm Heaven Fever for Wii.

Considering how much joy all of the above-mentioned games have brought to my life over the years, there's pretty much nothing that could keep me from adding the next iteration of this technicolor triumph to my collection as soon as it hits Japanese store shelves on June 11.

As you've probably already gathered from the beautiful piece of cover art seen above, this fourth entry, which will go by the name Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus in its home region, is being prepped for the good old 3DS.

Amazingly, The Best Plus' in-game graphics look to be even more gorgeous than its box art. Don't believe me? Take a gander at its most recent trailer:

Sadly, Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus wasn't even mentioned in yesterday's European or North American Nintendo Direct broadcasts, so it probably isn't going to see the light of day in either of our necks of the woods this spring or summer.

Here's hoping Nintendo's Western arms bring it up at E3 2015 or some other upcoming event, because this really isn't the kind of title that should only be enjoyed by people who own Japanese 3DSes.

(Cover art via

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shall We Do It? (Danganronpa, Dokuro, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and My World, My Way)

For the first time since I started my new job two-and-a-half-months ago, I'm finally feeling somewhat settled. One of the side effects of that feeling is that I'm playing--and enjoying--more games than I have in ages.

Given that, I thought now would be the perfect time to type up another "Shall We Do It?" post that compiles some of my thoughts on the four portable titles that are mentioned in the header above.

Danganronpa (Vita)--Although my precious pink-and-white Vita has been in my hands for a couple of weeks now, I didn't actually play a game on it until this weekend due to the vacation that popped up just after the system arrived on our doorstep.

The first game I stuck into my Vita's cart slot, of course, was NIS' acclaimed Danganronpa, a dark visual novel that certainly didn't disappoint in the couple of hours I spent with it on Saturday and Sunday. 

As much as I'm loving Danganronpa's well-crafted, whodunnit-style story, though, I'm loving Rui Komatsuzaki's delicious-looking art even more. I also really like how playing this game "feels." Stalking the halls of Hope's Peak Academy is more engaging than I thought it would be, for instance, and interacting with your surroundings in other ways (such as clicking on background elements to learn more about them, or doing the same to your comrades to converse with them) is similarly enjoyable.

That's about all I can say about Danganronpa at the moment, I'm afraid, but I can assure you I'll continue to plug away at it this coming week, so hopefully the impressions I share in my next "Shall We Do It?" post (which I hope to publish about seven days from now) will dig a bit deeper into the experience.

Dokuro (Vita)--Danganronpa isn't the only Vita game I spent some time with this past weekend. I also bought--for just $2.99 via PSN--and played Dokuro, a Game Arts-developed puzzler-platformer that's quite a looker in its own right.

This digital effort is attractive in a slightly different way than Danganronpa is, though; here, the visuals look like they've been created using colored chalk or crayons. The effect isn't quite as eye-popping as, say, the original Yoshi's Island, but it's still undeniably pretty.

As for the rest of the game, well, I like it, but I can't say I'm head-over-heels in love with it. Players are given a good number of things to do--like pushing boxes, flipping switches and even carrying princesses--and the great majority of them provoke a lukewarm feeling of accomplishment, but on the whole, so far, Dokuro seems to lack a bit of energy.

Hopefully things will pick up as I continue to pick away at the adventure at hand, which is exactly what I'm planning to do (to an extent, at least) over the course of the following week or two.

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper (iOS)--This mobile RPG's North American launch came out of nowhere for me. I vaguely remember hearing about its Japanese release, but I assumed it would remain unique to that region and so quickly forgot about it.

Given its nostalgic content and liberal use of sprites, though, I nabbed it from the iOS App Store as soon as I heard about it.

Despite my eagerness to download it, I'm not sure how long it's going to maintain a presence on my iPhone. Why? For starters, Record Keeper's battle-centric gameplay isn't as engaging as I expected it to be given its pedigree. Also, as much as I love all of the spritework that's on display in this game, it's somewhat tarnished by all of the not-sprite art that tends to surround it. (Sorry, I've never been a fan of such juxtaposition. For me, I'd much rather a game focus entirely on sprites or entirely on hand-drawn illustrations, although I know I'm probably in the minority in feeling that way.)

Anyway, I'll give it a fair shake before dumping it--which means I'll give it at least a couple of more plays between now and the next time I write about this Final Fantasy offshoot. 

My World, My Way (DS)--Of all the games included in this write-up, this Atlus-published RPG is the one I put the most hours into over the last week. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've put more time into this title than any of the others than have been played as part of my "A Decade of DS" series.

I'm going to publish a more in-depth post about this quirky DS game shortly, so I don't want to share too much about it here, but one thing I definitely want to get across is that I'm having a blast with it.

If you've never heard of it, it's an RPG that stars a spoiled princess who channels her inner adventurer in order to attract the attention of a handsome bloke--an adventurer himself--who has melted her heart.

One of the handful of elements that sets My World, My Way apart from the JRPG pack is that its spoiled-princess protagonist has to juggle "pout points" as well as experience and hit points. By pouting, Elise (that's the princess' name) can alter the landscape around her, call more enemies to a particular area, force them to drop more items or experience points than they would otherwise and a number of other interesting actions.

As intriguing as that may sound, My World, My Way's definitely not for everyone. It's pretty repetitive, for one, plus it's far from the most attractive of DS games. That said, it's managed to keep my attention for more than five hours so far, so maybe its allure is more than the sum of its somewhat-unappealing parts?

Have any of you played some or all of the games discussed in this post? If so, please share your thoughts on them in the comments section below.

Monday, March 30, 2015

I think our home needs a set of these 'Smile Slime Yurayura' glasses, don't you?

I know I've said things like the above before and then failed to follow through on them, but this time I'm serious. Or at least I'm as serious as one can be when it comes to talking about possibly purchasing roly-poly glasses that resemble Dragon Quest Slimes.

That's because I now thoroughly regret passing on the Dragon Quest "Smile Slime" mugs--here's the regular one, and here's the one bearing the grinning visage of a liquid metal slime--that Square Enix offered for sale a couple of years ago. At the time, these vessels could be picked up for just $20 or so, while today they go for more than $40.

Anyway, these three-inch-by-three-inch "yurayura" (that's a Japanese onomatopoeia for “swaying,” “wavering” or “wobbling," according to glasses potentially are less practical than the above-mentioned mugs--after all, I drink many cups of coffee each day, while I only drink wine (which is the liquid I'd most likely pour into these glasses) a couple of times per week--but I'm OK with that as they'd still be cool to own and even show off now and then.

They're pretty darn cheap, too, when all things are considered--with a single glass costing just 840 yen, which translates to about $7, if pre-ordered via (They'll supposedly start shipping in early July, so don't wait too long if you want to nab a couple.)

I'm also giving serious thought to buying one or more of the "Smile Slime" silicone ice trays that are being sold by, too. I don't know about you, but I think 870 yen (again, around $7) is a small price to pay for something that's going to allow you to fill your drinking glasses with slime-shaped ice cubes.