“We Have Odin Sphere and Final Fantasy Tactics At Home”
Maximilian Dood called Vampire Survivors “video game crack,” and, well, he’s not joking. I’m reminded of the scene from The Simpsons when Marge sits down and drinks wine. (I know that a glass and a half is recommended by physicians, but I simply can’t drink that much!) Not to worry. While I’m at it, I’m still fitting in some Xenoblade 3 side missions. I’m manufacturing food canteens, exploring Colony Lambda, and attempting to get through that awful cave. Additionally, Fire Emblem Engage will have been launched by the time you read this! So far, the reviews are favourable. Although there have been some complaints regarding the plot and the characters, it usually takes some time for people to get used to the new Fire Emblem waifus and husbandos. Come the next Comiket, we’ll be completely captivated with these oddballs and their bizarre food tastes. I bet $10 that one of them would be seen favourably by the public for pouring their milk into the cereal bowl before it has been filled with cereal. Catch people at the gaming expo wearing graphic t-shirts that feature milk bowls as the newest and trendiest Fire Emblem allusion.
Breaking News: Dokapon Kingdom Returns To Terrorize Friend Groups, Experts Currently Monitoring Woolie Madden’s Condition
Ignore this narrative if you like friendship, respect tranquilly, and detest aggressiveness. We have some major news if you like violence! Many video games are regarded for their potential to utterly destroy friendships in the gaming industry. In Mario Kart. Nintendo Party Battletoads. Few video games are as utterly craven and murderous as Sting’s Dokapon Kingdom. This hybrid of a board game, RPG simulation, and turn-based combat was first launched on the PS2 in 2007 (with subsequent Wii and DS adaptations), and it immediately brings a pall to the eyes of everyone who has played it with (former) pals. And with good reason: messing with your peers is quite simple (not to mention encouraged). If employing a Boo to steal a star from another player makes you angry, Dokapon Kingdom hasn’t forced you to have a buzzcut.
Unluckily, it was simply too “Japanese” for general audiences when it was published in the US in 2008 as an Atlus PS2 JRPG with vibrant colours. Dokapon Kingdom was consigned to the dusty back shelves of history, where copies may still fetch up to $200 today. To love and dread Dokapon Kingdom, though, is to understand it.
Folks, it’s coming back. True evil only undergoes rebirth; it never dies. Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is this.
Dokapon Kingdom: Connect is a direct replica of the PS2/Wii game Dokapon Kingdom, in which you take on the role of one of many heroes entrusted with defending the realm from a powerful evil. You move your character across tiles each time you take a turn by spinning a roulette wheel (a la Mario Party). Your objective is to gather the money you earn through capturing towns and killing monsters. But there are several and significant caveats. You will fear going in for an Attach just to eat a Counter since battle is turn-based and uses a rock-paper-scissors method. Second, your class determines your talents. As you play (matches may go for quite a long), you can unlock exotic classes like Robot in addition to the standard Warrior/Thief/Magician ones. And these classes have a nasty habit of tampering with one another, like thieves who take gold from whatever unit they pass. If you wind up on the same tile as another player, you may fight them, and if you win, you can steal their money, towns, or even equipment. You might also be very petty and merely tease your foe. Like drawing on their face, spoiling their haircut, or forcing altering their name to a moniker of your choice. (Yes, in a match, this may have disastrous effects.)
Online play has been Dokapon Kingdom: Connect’s largest addition to date, and let’s be honest, that’s really all we needed. With its impending Switch edition, the already fantastic (bad) game will make it much simpler to torment your buddies. A release date other than “Spring 2023” is not yet known. May God grant Woolie compassion.
For Puzzle Bobble Everybubble, a new game mode! Crosses Space Invaders With an Arcade Classic?
This one is dedicated to Heidi, a native Taito lover and one of our favourite This Week In Games grads. I hope everything is well with you.
I previously wrote about Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!, the most recent game in the series that seems to be a celebration of the brand (that nevertheless is missing the satisfying tactile sensation of the arcade classic). Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! now has a whole new game mode, as if that weren’t self-referential enough for Taito. It has similarities with Space Invaders, a 45th anniversary celebration of an arcade classic! During a livestream on, well, Puzzle Bobble dinosaur Bub’s official YouTube channel, where an adorable Bub mascot and a few Taito developers played an early prototype of the Puzzle Bobble Vs. Space Invaders mode, the new gameplay option was unveiled.
The game plays like a very intuitive mix between Puzzle Bobble and Space Invaders. Groups of Invaders trapped in bubbles march from left to right on the top of the screen, slowly descending to the ground. You and up to three other players (or CPU-controlled participants) shoot them down by matching three bubbles of the same color. The combo clears out any similarly-colored bubble in its surrounding, leaving big gaps in the enemy formation, but any differently-colored bubble remains. Meanwhile, the invaders keep descending upon you and shooting at you. There are a few other minor twists, like little bombs in the formation of invaders that can take whole swaths of bubbles with a combo or being able to swap your current bubble for one of a different color.
It looks like great fun, and given how naturally the two games mesh together, I’m surprised this hasn’t come around sooner! Taito always goes the extra mile regarding Space Invaders, and small wonder: it was their very first smash hit. While the claims that Space Invaders was so popular it caused a shortage of 100 yen coins is ultimately apocryphal (just like razor blades and weed in Halloween candy, or there being a law preventing Dragon Quest games from being released on weekdays), Space Invaders was nevertheless a massively popular arcade game upon release that people lined up to play. And Taito has always been on the bleeding edge to ensure it’s given its due with its many ports. Space Invaders on GameBoy seemed like a simple affair, but it offered a wealth of excellent options if played on a Super GameBoy—chief among them, the chance of playing the 16-bit SNES Space Invaders from the GameBoy cartridge. Space Invaders on DS shipped with a dial you could connect to the DS’s GBA slot, allowing you to play the game with the same control scheme as the arcade original. And so on!
Although Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! may not be at the top of everyone’s list of desired video games, it seems to have received a lot of thought and consideration. I really hope the music and sound effects are fixed. Enjoy Puzzle Bobble Everybubble this spring in the meantime.
Microsoft Announces Massive Layoffs; Bethesda and 343 Industries Affected
This past week, Microsoft announced the mass layoff of 10,000 workers across its several offices, continuing the long tale of Microsoft and its many difficulties in its pursuit of the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. This includes its video gaming businesses, claims Bloomberg. We don’t know exactly how many game developers were let go, but according to reports, those let go included Xbox veterans who had been with the firm for roughly ten years as well as employees of Bethesda who are presently working on Starfield.
Halo Infinite’s online multiplayer and “live service aspects” will continue to get support, according to studio chief of 343 Industries Pierre Hintze. According to Microsoft, one of its future objectives is to hire individuals for “competitive fields” like “artificial intelligence.”
We were due for one when Microsoft acquired Bethesda and attempted to acquire Activision-Blizzard. Mass layoffs like this often seem to follow mergers. This mass layoff is perhaps the largest we have had to report on so far, and although it is undoubtedly facilitated in part by the size of Microsoft as a global conglomerate, it cannot be helped given the size of the Activision-Blizzard deal. In the view of the suits above, it amounts to a lot of “redundancies.”
Reporting on news like this is never enjoyable, but it’s crucial to keep this in mind. The games we like are created by real people, and all too often, their jobs are precarious. After this massive departure, I hope all 10,000 of those workers can find employment somewhere else. However, it would be preferable if they didn’t lose their jobs all at once.
Miracle Snack Shop, a Korean visual novel, will be released on the PS4 in the USA.
Visual novels are one topic I try to address more often in these sections. In terms of coverage, they are a relatively underutilised media in the United States. It’s a glaring mistake that never fails to irritate me, especially given how many renowned Japanese developers can trace their roots back to visual novels. The work that Koji “IGA” Igarashi accomplished on Tokimeki Memorial before producing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night should be acknowledged and studied in any discussion of him. Mea culpa if I don’t write about visual novels more often. It’s simply for games that don’t have an American release planned, and I see news about it a lot more often than I let on. However, I’m not sure how much room my audience is comfortable for me to devote to things that they can’t actually get their hands on and couldn’t obtain without importing. Despite seeming intelligent, my mind is a little bit stuck in 2008. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
In light of that, I do have a Korean visual novel we can discuss today! Miracle Snack Shop has been available on Steam since 2018 (with a Switch version scheduled for 2021), but only last week it received an updated English script. And on January 26th, it will be released on the PS4!
The plot is straightforward: you take on the role of a young guy who acquires possession of a struggling shave ice store. When Philia, also known as Queen Salt, arrives at your shop from another planet and orders you to make her some, you assume control of the business while you look up recipes, advertise your shop, and work to gain money so you may enhance your relationship with one of the two love interests. Along with Philia, there is Mira, who seems to represent “Betty” in this “Betty and Veronica” situation (people get the Archie allusion, right?).
English, Japanese, and Korean language tracks will all be included in the PS4 edition. There is no information on a physical release, but most video game players won’t hold their breath until it comes with all the bells and whistles. It’s great to see excellent VNs receiving more ports; maybe, this will pave the way for additional entertaining VNs to obtain more thorough releases!
In Europe and the USA, Sword of the Vagrant Will Be Physically Released
We mentioned in passing a few months ago that The Vagrant will be getting more console releases. A side-scrolling action RPG in the vein of Vanillaware titles like Odin Sphere or Muramasa: The Demon Blade, The Vagrant is currently known as Sword of the Vagrant. Fit ladies in scantily clad clothes trade blows with enormous skeleton knights that seem to have been plucked straight out of a magical tale in this graphic style that is eerily reminiscent of George Kamitani’s work. There is a tonne of strategy in the game: levelling up gives you skill points that you can use to buy Vivian, the protagonist, new abilities or perks, and various weapons have various elemental properties that can alter the nature of your attacks. In true Vanillaware style, the game even has an in-game cooking system for boosting your stats. Even if the graphics fall just short of Vannilaware’s high standards, the 2D game nevertheless looks amazing.
Although we don’t yet know the precise date of release for the game’s digital edition, we do know that it will be available on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch later this year. Even better, those who purchased Sword of the Vagrant may anticipate physical releases! The US physical release will be managed by the staff at Limited Run Games. Red Art Games will simultaneously cover PEGI areas.
Odin’s Sphere: Leifthrasir is still locked away on the PS4, while Muramasa: The Demon Blade hasn’t been seen since the Wii and PS Vita, despite Vanillaware’s GrimGrimoire: Once More launching shortly on the Switch (and the Vita DLC was, to my knowledge, never ported back to the Wii). In the meanwhile, Sword of the Vagrant should keep us occupied till Vanillaware eventually chooses to transfer them on the Switch. Also, it would be great if Dragon’s Crown had a smooth Switch version. Let’s hope, right?
Vanaris Tactics: An Independent Strategy RPG approaching XBox and Switch
Final Fantasy Tactics is another game that is only available on certain systems. Since Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on the GameBoy Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2 on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo hasn’t seen any of them. Only the PSP and mobile devices ever saw the release of the popular Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, a recreation of the original Final Fantasy Tactics. Not even a Steam port was shown. Despite the fact that we presently have Triangle Strategy and Tactics Ogre on the Switch, anybody hoping to see Ivalice will have to settle with nothing.
Thankfully, Final Fantasy Tactics served as inspiration for a number of other games, leading to Vanaris Tactics. The narrative of an independent strategy game created by Brazilian programmers at Retromaten Studios centres on a group of refugees trying to flee their native country during a violent conflict. The game’s look and design are flawless, despite the apparent absence of FFT’s famous Job system. Vanaris Tactics is currently available on Steam, but it seems that we may soon look forward to bringing it with us on the road since this past week, a Switch release was announced!
Once again, no release date has been officially announced. However, we’ll keep a watch out for Vanaris Tactics when it launches on the Switch and Xbox platform family. Since Retromaten is situated in Brazil, as was already said, I’m interested in following this one. Although I can only truly talk about the anime and video game fanbase in Puerto Rico, it’s important to note that every country in South America has its own unique interest in these media. Brazil is a special example since purchasing an Xbox or a Nintendo Switch would be out of reach for anyone except the upper class due to import costs (unless you pirated your games). Along with the lengthy and complex histories of the Sega Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis, there is a fascinating history to be told about Brazil and its relationship with video games. Good old Uncle Derek from Stop Skeletons From Fighting has a good overview of that lengthy, complex piece of history (along with a fantastic video about the Brazilian console, Zeebo). I’m happy to see other Latin American developers succeed and share their creations with the world! Vanaris Tactics is available now on Steam for $8 until January 24th, 2023, if you don’t want to wait for the Switch version to be out. Also, be sure to check out Sukeban Games’ VA-11 Hall-A if you’re looking for other video games made by Latinos. TheSwitch and Steam both have it available.
Finally, here are a few basic facts:
Guilty Gear Xrd:Rev 2 will have received a rollback netcode upgrade by the time you read this! It will be available on Steam, PS3, and PS4.
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key creator Junzo Hosoi broke some depressing news to fans earlier this week on Twitter: The new release date for Atelier Ryza 3 is March 24th, 2023, a full month later. Hosoi attributes the problem to last-minute adjustments made to make sure the open world functions properly and that the “graphics represent the beauty of these characters to the utmost degree.” We can see their wanting to make sure that every “T” and “I” are crossed because this is Ryza’s last trip.
Dragon Quest Champions, a “melee command combat RPG,” has been unveiled as the newest Dragon Quest mobile game. Turn-based combat and a battle royale are now mixed together. We hope Yuji Naka doesn’t have to go to prison for this one as well, as we said last week.
PowerWash Simulator, a popular relaxation game among streamers, will launch on the PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch on January 31. The “Tomb Raider Special Pack,” a free DLC made possible by Square Enix, will debut with it and allow you to power wash Croft Manor and everything inside of it. a jeep. the challenge course. the dinosaur display. every single thing.
It’s the end of another week, ring-a-ding-ding. I hope you all like Fire Emblem: Participate this weekend! Please let me know how adorable Anne is and how nicely she complements Lyn’s ring as I preordered a copy only for the tarot cards. (Since Tharja and Titania won’t be involved, there isn’t much more I can ask for.) Please let me know if you have any opinions on my covering more Japan-only visual novels. I really want to make sure that video games are properly represented, thus it would be helpful if I knew what video game players wanted to see. Also! I’m excited for my review of Shin Ultraman to be online this weekend. It’s a lovely movie that I found to be really inspirational. Treat one another well; I’ll see you in seven.
“We Have Odin Sphere and Final Fantasy Tactics At Home”
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