Friday, September 04, 2015

Apropos of nothing, I really like these recent examples of Japanese Vita box art

My original plan was for this post to be filled with pieces of box art that represent a variety of current-gen game systems--from the 3DS and Vita to the Wii U and PS4.

After contemplating things a bit, though, I decided to focus my attention on the Vita. Specifically, I decided to focus my attention on the following trio of Japanese Vita covers:

This first piece of box art, for those of you who can't read katakana, is for a game called Airship Q. Don't worry if this is the first you've heard of it, as I hadn't heard of it until I came across the image above while perusing NeoGAF about a week ago.

So, what's the point of Airship Q? Well, for starters, its developers--which include a bunch of ex-Square Enix employees--are touting the game as a "sandbox action RPG" in the mold of Minecraft and Terraria. (Visually, it calls to mind the latter far more than the former.)

There's more to this intriguing title than that, of course, but I'll hold off on saying more until tomorrow, when I'll publish a more extensive post about this upcoming release. (It's due out in Japan on Nov. 19, although it seems it'll eventually hit other regions as well.)

Even if there weren't more to it, though, I'd be seriously thinking of buying a copy because of its beautiful box art alone, which calls to mind some of the lovely illustrations that graced the covers of Sega Mega Drive games back in the day.

This cover art, on the other hand, is for a Namco Bandai-published game called Tokyo Ghoul Jail. All I know about it, unfortunately, is that it's based on a popular anime and manga series and that it'll hit Japanese store shelves both digital and physical on Oct. 1.

OK, so I know one more thing about this Tokyo Ghoul game adaptation: it'll be a visual novel--at least for the most part. (Its second trailer, which can be viewed here, suggests it'll feature some battle scenes, too.)

Is Tokyo Ghoul Jail's in-game art as wondrous as the art that's set to appear on its packaging? Not really, but you can't have everything, right? And at least the folks who buy retail copies of this title will be able to ogle the cover imagery found above whenever they feel the need.

Finally, we have the box art that's been prepared for Nihon Falcom's latest--and hopefully greatest--effort, Tokyo Xanadu.

Unsurprisingly, Tokyo Xanadu is going to be an action RPG. (I say unsurprisingly because Nihon Falcom has made a bunch of games in that genre, such as the Dragon Slayer, Popful Mail and Ys series.) Surprisingly, on the other hand, this one looks to be taking some cues from Atlus' mega-popular Persona titles.

You can see some of the latter influence in Tokyo Xanadu's cover illustration--which, admittedly, isn't as immediately sexy as the other two examples that've been shared in this post so far, but it's still pretty darn impressive.

What do you think of the pieces of box art shown throughout this post? Do you like all of them? Some of them? Even just one of them? Also, can you think of any other pieces of Vita box art that you consider wow-worthy?

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A custom-made pouch and a review copy of Curses 'N Chaos: two reasons my Vita's going to be played a whole lot more in the coming weeks

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned my pink-and-white Vita all that much since it arrived on my doorstep earlier this year. (You can read about it, and see some snazzy photos of it, in this post.)

That isn't because I'm at all unhappy with it, I promise you. On the contrary, I love the darn thing to death. In fact, it's possible I love it too much.

What do I mean by that? Well, as I've stated elsewhere a few times before, I'm so used to laptop-esque handhelds like the 3DS, DS and even the GameBoy Advance SP that a system with an exposed screen like the Vita kind of freaks me out--to the point that I keep mine wrapped up and in its box whenever I'm not playing it.

(Admittedly, I own two PSPs and have had at least one of them for a few years now, but both came with scratched screens and so I've never obsessed over them like I do my Vita.)

As you probably can imagine, keeping a handheld stowed away in its original packaging doesn't exactly promote regular play--which should help explain my lack of experience with the Vita so far.

That's all in the past now, though, thanks to the snazzy, padded carrying pouch my neighbor friend, Gina Gallaway (her husband is Brad Gallaway, managing editor of, recently made for me. As you can see in the photo below, it beautifully complements my oh-so-precious Vita.

Anyway, now that I have a case (or pouch, or whatever you want to call it) that can protect my Vita from dust and scratches and other such things, I'm keeping it at the ready.

Which means, of course, that I should be able to put a good amount of time into the copy of Curses 'N Chaos that the folks at Tribute Games kindly sent to me a week or two ago.

That's not to say I haven't put any time into it yet. Actually, I put about an hour into Curses 'N Chaos last weekend, but I'm not sure that was enough for me to come to any solid conclusions about it.

As for my not-so-solid conclusions: well, based on what I've seen and heard and felt so far, I've got to say I'm a bit surprised--and I don't mean that in the best of ways.

Don't get me wrong, Curses 'N Chaos both looks and sounds wonderful--as is the case for every Tribute Games release I've encountered to date. It feels good, too, truth be told. As of now, though, I'm not sure I'd say I'm finding it all that fun.

You see, I came into Curses 'N Chaos expecting that it would be some sort of Ghosts 'n Goblins or Ghouls 'n Ghosts clone. While it Tribute Games' effort ably apes the aesthetics of those Capcom classics, its gameplay is a lot more limited.

Specifically, while the aforementioned quarter-munchers have sprawling, side-scrolling levels, all of the ones included in Curses 'N Chaos are single-screen affairs. Because of that, Curses 'N Chaos is more of a "score attack" sort of game. That's all well and good, but I'm not really a "score attack" kind of guy.

So, for the moment I'm not exactly feeling this digital title (which can be played by PS4 owners, too). I'm not giving up on it, though--not by a long shot--so look for me to share additional impressions on it in a future post.

Have any of you played Curses 'N Chaos? If so, what do you think of it?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Nice Package! (Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, Nintendo DS)

You've hopefully noticed by now that I currently have Hotel Dusk on the brain. After all, my last two posts have focused on that Cing-developed, Nintendo-published DS game. (My most recent #ADecadeofDS write-up is one, while my latest installment of 'Which Box Art is Best?' is the other.)

Although I haven't yet finished my Hotel Dusk playthrough (I just crossed the 12-hour mark), I'm already looking forward to diving into its sequel, known as Last Window: The Secret of Cape West.

In case this is the first you've heard of Last Window (which I've stupidly been calling The Last Window in the comments here as of late), it is a follow-up to Hotel Dusk that hit Japanese store shelves in early 2010 and made its way to Europe a few months later.

I bought a copy of the latter version shortly after it was released, despite the fact that I hadn't yet played (let alone finished) Hotel Dusk.

Sadly, the copy in question has been sitting in a cupboard ever since.

Considering how much I'm currently enjoying Hotel Dusk, though, you can rest assured it won't be sitting there for much longer.

In the meantime, I thought all who are interested may enjoy ogling the photos of Last Window's packaging that can be seen throughout this post.

Have any of you played Last Window? If so, what did you think of the experience? Also, how did you think it compared to Hotel Dusk--assuming you played that portable whodunit, too?

See also: previous 'Nice Package!' posts