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Found 20 results

  1. Marcus Estrada

    Groupees Presents Build a Doujin Bundle

    Although some indie bundles include doujin (basically, Japanese indie) games, most focus on other types of titles. Groupees have provided some interesting bundles for their previous sales and this looks to be one of their better ones. Build a Doujin Bundle features a cast of indie games that might be what you're looking for. Eight games are included: CAFE 0 ~The Drowned Mermaid~ (Windows/Mac/Linux, Desura) Cherry Tree High Comedy Club (Windows, Steam, Desura) - Review Croixleur (Windows: Steam) Ether Vapor Remaster (Windows, Steam Desura) - Review Pester (Windows) War of the Human Tanks (Windows, Desura) Yatagarasu (Windows) - Review Yousei (Windows/Mac/Linux, Desura) Buy all of them or buy just the ones you want! Groupees' bundles almost always feature the ability to buy just what you want. The less you buy, the cheaper the bundle and vice versa. As a bonus, everyone gets Sound of the Human Tanks which is the soundtrack to War of the Human Tanks.
  2. If you consider yourself a fan of shooters (or "shmups" as they are often called) then why haven't you already picked up The Tale of ALLTYNEX? Japanese indie developer SITER SKAIN created three arcade-style shooting games which went on to be quite popular in Japan. Western fans got their chance to show their desire for the trilogy's release in America thanks to a Kickstarter campaign hosted by Nyu Media. Funded to nearly 300%, it was assured that these games would readily see digital release for Western players. The trilogy includes the games KAMUI, RefleX, and ALLTYNEX Second. All three are available now as either separate downloads for $8 or as a bundle costing $20 via The Tale of ALLTYNEX. They are available through GamersGate, Nyu Media, or Rice Digital, with Desura copies coming out on June 8th. Those who would rather see the games on Steam can upvote The Tale of ALLTYNEX on Greenlight.
  3. Croixleur may seem like a mishmash of letters rather than the name of a game, but it is, and it launched just this week. What on earth is Croixleur? The game is of the hack and slash variety with a story mode, as well as score attack and endless modes. It also happens to be an indie title. Japanese developer Souvenir Inc put together their anime-styled game and it would probably have never seen western distribution if not for Nyu Media. You may be familiar with that name as they also localized and published the likes of Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, The eXceed Collection, and others. Their hope is to get the game through Greenlight, but it is already available from other digital distributors. If you're interested in giving Croixleur a go then perhaps check out the demo before purchasing through GamersGate or Desura. It might also be worth viewing the trailer to get a feel for the gameplay:
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Cherry Tree High Comedy Club Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  5. Marcus Estrada

    Cherry Tree High Comedy Club Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  6. Marcus Estrada

    Cherry Tree High Comedy Club Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  7. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Cherry Tree High Comedy Club

    Developer: 773 Publisher: Nyu Media/Capcom Platform: PC (Steam) Release Date: November 8, 2012 ESRB: T Gamers in the West don“t really have a good understanding of dating sims. We have been handed a few treats in the form of Katawa Shoujo or abbreviated versions in the vein of Persona 3 or 4, but beyond that not much. As such, seeing Nyu Media get Capcom to release a game like that (even digitally) is quite a surprise. Well, maybe it“s not fair to call Cherry Tree High Comedy Club a “dating sim” per se, but it is definitely a relationship sim the likes of which will be foreign to many. Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is a friendship simulator when you really take a look at it - and that“s all it offers. If you have played Persona 3 or 4 then you“ve gotten a taste of this from Social Links. However, this game has no extraneous features such as turn-based battles or powerful storyline. Instead, it relies wholly on the enjoyment of talking to characters, befriending them, and reaching your goal before time runs out. The game focuses around a young woman named Miley who wishes for nothing more in life than to become a comedian. She excitedly hopes to start her own comedy club at the school but is then informed that there must be other members in the group to exist. So then Miley goes to work befriending as many people as she can in hopes of getting some to join up. Yes, this is a rather negative prospect, but the game never takes itself seriously so it doesn“t become an issue. Once in game, those familiar with recent Persona games may feel it was ripped right from there. As Miley, players have three time periods where they can perform various actions. The player may study, find ways to de-stress, learn about topics of conversation, or engage in discussion with others. Doing things like homework help her overall, but then cause the stress meter to increase. Watching movies, playing games, or reading magazines are all things that Miley can do in order to be more able to talk to her friends about topics of interest to them. Although the game may seem barebones, it is really only trying to provide a very specific experience. This experience is helped in great part by the writing. Thanks to Capcom and Nyu Media, the English text translation and localization was actually overseen by Tezuka Productions. If you don“t recall this name, they are the team behind the Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick localizations, so they“re more than capable. You can definitely feel their influence with the game“s Westernization, as well as some of the pop culture references. However, the game is still not close to the hilarity of Ace Attorney which is probably due in part to the original script and characters. The Westernization of the game will appeal to some and push others away. Many who are looking for a “dating sim” experience, too, will be left unsatisfied as there are no romantic relationships to be found here. Those who are not so specific in their gaming tastes will probably find that the game works fine, and the translation is certainly competent. In the original direct download version released earlier this year, there were a few typos to be found. However, since the Steam release these have been cleaned up, helping the product feel more professional. With such a simple game it also shouldn“t be expected to be a long experience. The game takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete but any longer would have made it overstay its welcome. Once you finish, a New Game + is unlocked. This game mode carries Miley“s stats over so you“ll be more able to make friends quicker. Beyond that though there“s not too much reason to play the game for extended periods of time. Thankfully, the game is fairly cheap which makes the brevity expected. It may feel “cheap” though to people who come into the game with Persona-level expectations. If you“re interested in a dating sim-esque game then Cherry Tree High Comedy Club should fit the bill. It manages to be very weird in that it focuses on friendship instead of dating, but the gameplay mechanics are still quite similar. The Westernization may even be a little off-putting for some, but others may welcome it. Then there“s the fairly short gameplay time which may make some find the game too quick. There are a lot of things that may turn someone away from it, but if you come in with an open mind you may find that Cherry Tree High Comedy Club is a fun little experience for a lazy afternoon. Pros: + One of few games available in English to please “relationship” sim fans + Humorous writing helped by Tezuka Productions + Tight gameplay mechanics which are easy to comprehend Cons: - Overall a short experience with little replay value - Factors such as localization style and simplicity may turn off some Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Cherry Tree High Comedy Club may be a niche game, but it caters very well to that audience.
  8. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Eryi's Action

    Developer: Xtal Sword Publisher: Nyu Media Platform: PC (Desura, GamersGate, Web) ESRB: N/A (E suggested) Release Date: 9/14/12 In this day and age, we“re not really being presented with tons of difficult video games. Yes, some come up from time to time or offer up an incredible difficulty setting, but most don“t force players to work at levels over and over again in order to proceed. If you“re a gamer who laments the death of true difficulty in your media then take a look at Eryi“s Action. It isn“t a typical tough game that simply requires great reflexes and carefully planned moves. Instead, it is outright unfair, but still a blast to play. The game starts off with an incredibly simplistic story in an attempt to lull you into believing the game is easy and cute. Basically, lead character Eyri is about to eat a melon when she finds out it“s missing. Apparently the evil fiend Farta (yes, that“s the name) has stolen it. Of course, your goal is to lead Eryi back to her melon! Now how could anything difficult arise from such a sweet beginning? You“d be surprised. At the start of the game you are plopped into Eryi“s room. All you have to do is get out of the house to begin your journey. Upon attempting to exit the room, a giant metal pan will fall onto her head and it will be game over. Eryi“s Action gives no real lead-in to the game“s difficulty. The real meat of the title is not that it“s a sidescrolling platformer, but that it“s a platformer filled to the brim with traps. If you were expecting anything else with the corny story then the very first trap should wake you up. Once the game actually begins, the real cruelty starts. Although some traps include obvious spikes or water hazards, many are ones you“ll have to spring to realize are there. For example, early on there is a trap which activates when trying to use a ladder. The previous ladder worked fine, but the next throws some spikes down to crush you. Other traps include blocks that disappear as soon as you step on them, enemies popping out of bushes, and a whole host of other stuff. Traps can come in at any point, and one right after another. You will even find them in unexpected places like the world map. Now one might assume that there“s only so many traps that could be thought up. Through playing the game, I can report that there“s always something new around the bend. It“s also impossible to know just what is going to happen next. You may try to walk cautiously past a wall of spikes, but it will hardly protect you. The game often even fakes players out by making things look dangerous. Only when you get past the “scary” part and let down your guard will the real trap set off. The only real way to get through the game is with loads of persistence as well as remembering what trap is where. Levels themselves are fairly short and even include autosave flags. This is the one kindness that Eryi“s Action affords players. Everything else is up to you mastering the sections in order to get through them. What is so incredible is how perfectly traps are placed. Xtral Sword must have put a lot of time into testing to see just how players would move through the worlds. For example, one funny trap early on is a platform with a diamond just beyond it. Players jump to the platform in an attempt to get the shiny item, but a wall suddenly appears before they can get it. The next thought is obviously to go back off the platform from the other side. Just as that happens another, smaller wall pops up to block escape and spikes fall from the sky. You“re smushed. The trap design is absolutely ingenious and worth experiencing even if platformers aren“t your thing. That“s not to say that every bit of cruelty the game unleashes is a joy to experience. I felt that the first level was a bit too unfair, although once you pass it you know what to expect in the future. This is due to the fact that Eyri“s Action doesn“t completely explain what freedoms you have. There was an item earlier in the level that could be used at the end, but this didn“t even cross my mind for the longest time. Perhaps if it had better tutorial boxes (or at least hinted more blatantly) it would be easier to accept. For the most part though, the fun comes from accidentally tripping traps and attempting to best them. The "game over" jingle is rather annoying with its mocking tone, but beyond that, dying is part of the enjoyment. The game teaches you right at the beginning that you“re going to die but not to take it seriously. Instead, enjoy the hilarious traps and work on overcoming them. Beating a level feels good, especially after some of the more diabolical trap setups. Unfortunately, the game is not massively long. Each level is fairly brief (once you“ve spent handfuls of minutes or hours to beat each) and there are not tons of them. Some players may be able to more quickly assess and traverse trap-filled landscapes while others will have a much harder time with it. Either way, once the game is over it doesn“t feel like something you really need to sink more time into. At the same time, it“s only five dollars though which makes it a fairly great experience for the low cost. If there“s anything Eryi“s Adventure is lacking, it is a bit more polish. The characters look fine but the world isn“t the most creative-looking out there. The music is pleasant, but not something you want to hear over and over again. Then there“s that damned "game over" sound, which sounds completely ridiculous. None of these pull away from the experience though, and you can always turn off sound effects if you really need to. Fun comes from playing the game, and it would be fun regardless of presentation. There could certainly be more added to the game as well but that goes back to the point of it“s price. How much do you really require a $5 game to have? The experience players have with Eryi“s Action is hugely entertaining. Although it won“t last for months and months, it is something worth experiencing at least once. To try playing a game that is purposefully out to get you is creative, and strangely enjoyable. Those who love platformers deserve looking it over, but so too do gamers who want to play something difficult. There is no lack of “hard platfomers,” but most allow for player skill to trump them, instead of forcing players to conform to a smartly hostile world. Eryi“s Action is the kind of game that people may like even if it“s not typically the type of game they would play. Pros: + Incredibly smart trap placement + Never know what“s going to happen next + A joy to beat levels and die dozens of times trying Cons: - Short once you master it - Little replay value - Lackluster audio design Overall Score: 7.5 (Out of 10) Good Eryi's Action is the perfect title for gamers with a masochistic streak.
  9. Marcus Estrada

    Review: The eXceed Collection

    Developer: Flat Software, Tennen-sozai Publisher: Capcom, Nyu Media Platform: PC (GamersGate, GameTap, Impulse, Steam, Web) ESRB: E10+ Release Date: Out Now If you“re a fan of shoot ”em up games then you“re definitely not lacking in choices for games to play. Although many of the best came out years ago, there are still new games in the genre coming forth. Much of the new stuff isn't by established developers and instead are indie efforts. There are many “doujin” shooters out there and now a pack of them has been brought to Steam. Dubbed The eXceed Collection it contains three games of the eXceed series which can be purchased together for one price. It“s definitely a deal, but are the games themselves any good? Thankfully this is a good pack of games. The bundle contains these three games: eXceed - Gun Bullet Children, eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX, and eXceed 3rd - Jade Penetrate Black Package. If you can look past the ridiculous naming, they“re all solid additions to the genre. Although they are all solid in regards to gameplay, presentation definitely increased as more games came out. A lackluster visual presentation wouldn“t turn away hardcore fans, but less serious shooter fans might be turned off by this. The original eXceed was made by Flat Software, which was later spun off into the company known as Tennen-sozai. They were the ones who made the 2nd and 3rd games. Gun Bullet Children came out in 2005 and since then the original game code has been lost. Because of this, it was not possible for the game to have an English translation inserted into it now. What does that mean? This is the only game of the collection which could be viewed as a digital “import." The game remains exactly as it was in Japan, which means all story text and voice acting is in Japanese. Thankfully, the main menu is in English which means all you“re missing out on is the story. If you were interested in knowing what's happening though the script is available online. There is certainly an apparent effort to create some story with this game. You shouldn“t expect it to be anything special though. An English script of the game has been provided in case you really want to know but you“re missing little by simply playing the game. The focus is obviously on shooting and dodging bullets rather than listening to a simplistic tale. Perhaps the untouched nature of the original may even please some gamers. It“s just a shame that the original game couldn“t have any touched up graphics either. The bullet design for this game is rather bulky and at times its hard to tell where exactly the hitboxes are. For Vampire REX you have a translated game, although the vocals are still in Japanese. The same holds true for the 3rd game. One thing that makes Vampire REX different in comparison to the rest of the games is one gameplay feature called “polarity”. In a nod to Ikaruga, you are able to switch your polarity between holy and evil. What this does is allow you to absorb bullets of the same polarity and also cause more damage to enemies who are the opposite. You can switch on the fly, although if you switch back and forth too fast it will cause the game to slow down. All three games have great music but in my opinion the 2nd game is where the soundtrack truly shines. It manages to have songs that get you pumped for dodging entire screens full of bullets as well as stuff that just sounds nice. Overall, a good soundtrack is one that either blends with the world or stands out as completely awesome, and eXceed music falls into the latter category. The soundtracks are also available along with the games if you download from certain distributors. By the third title, eXceed finally grew into a very slick package. It definitely still has the feel of its precursors but also with a coating that makes it look even better. Items like bullets, power and bomb orbs now have a graphic which looks modern instead of a simplistic, unattractive design. It“s a big update from Gun Bullet Children which had rather poor bullet visuals. Boss attack patterns have always been well done in the series, but by this game they now look as good as they play. Overall, Jade Penetrate Black Package is the most professional game of the trio. There are certainly distinguishing factors about the eXceed series. Once you move beyond the distinctive soundtrack and great bullet patterns, you have a set of games which probably look incredibly similar to everyone not involved in the genre. This isn“t necessarily a problem though, as those people probably aren“t looking at this game. If you fall into this category, then make sure you realize this isn“t just any shoot ”em up game. All the eXceed games also happen to fall into the category of “bullet hell” shooters. This means they“re even harder than other games as they regularly have loads of bullets on the screen. Expect bosses to clutter things up consistently with winding and pulsating bullet waves. At $10 for three games, it“s hard to come up with reasons against it. Sure, the game isn“t as professional-looking as it could be but that doesn“t take away from the fun it provides. Just like other shooters, it isn“t tremendously long either but that doesn“t bother fans much. If you want to give the series a try then check out the 2nd or 3rd game first, as they are where it shines best. Those who are up to the challenge should definitely give The eXceed Collection a look. Pros: + Gameplay is solid and patterns are challenging but fun + Consistently great soundtracks across the games + Vampire REX“s polarity feature is addictive Cons: - Presentation leaves something to be desired in first two games - Bullets in original game look amateurish and can cause trouble Overall Score: 7 (Out of 10) Good The eXceed Collection provides shooter fans with a good deal as long as they're not expecting something highly polished.
  10. From the album: Review Images

  11. Marcus Estrada

    eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX Screenshot

    From the album: Review Images

  12. Marcus Estrada

    eXceed - Gun Bullet Children Screenshot

    From the album: Review Images

  13. The eXceed Collection... What is it? It's a set of three shoot 'em up games brought together in one budget package. What's special about that? Well, the eXceed series is relatively popular bullet hell in the "doujin" game world. In case you didn't know, doujin is sort of akin to our term "indie". A doujin series you might be aware of is the extremely popular Touhou Project games. The collection includes the following games: eXceed - Gun Bullet Children, eXceed 2nd - Vampire REX, and eXceed 3rd - Jade Penetrate Black Package. If you can manage to ignore the awkward and humorous names then it's a nice set of titles for $10. In case you don't want them all, then it's also possible to buy each game separately as well. In case you're not ready to make the purchase, the trio of games can be demoed on their official site. Those who want to take a look at what eXceed has to offer might want to check out this trailer (for the 3rd game):
  14. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Ether Vapor Remaster

    Developer: Edelweiss Publisher: Nyu Media Platform: PC Release Date: Out Now ESRB: E10 If you're a fan of shoot 'em up games then you might feel quite catered to these days. While the genre has always had some important presence in the west, it seems that lately more and more titles, both retail and digital, are popping up to satisfy fans. Nyu Media's latest addition to their catalog is Ether Vapor Remaster and it's an arcade shooter through and through. Developed by doujin company Edelweiss, it checks all the boxes needed to make a competent shooter. Did they manage to create something truly notable though or did they just assemble a soulless regurgitation of genre tropes? Read on to see where exactly the game fits. Ether Vapor Remaster has a story, but overall it's a simple affair. If you're expecting to see something like Sine Mora's philosophical waxing then you'll be disappointed. Considering how many of these games don't come with intense stories though it doesn't feel like much of a fault. If anything, it's a bit amusing at times when lines seem strange. It may seem nice that the developers tried to create a fully fleshed out game but it may have been better to just nix the idea all together. At the very least, the story isn't a massive hindrance, just a small blemish - especially since you can turn story text off completely if you want. Looking at the actual gameplay you'll quickly find this is a divergent title. For example, most games in the genre will focus on one perspective while playing: horizontal, vertical, or 2.5D. Instead of settling on any of these orientations the game presents you with all of them. No, not at once, but throughout the various scenes the camera will often pan out or tilt into a different one. This doesn't happen at random but at specific points during your travel. Even though it only happens at certain times, it is extremely jarring at times. To have the camera switch angles in the middle of an intense fight can totally throw you off, and probably will the first (and maybe second) time through. After a while you'll get used to it, and it's an interesting design choice, but it may not be the best one. If nothing else, it helps distinguish this game from the myriad of others. As soon as you jump into the firefights you will have to quickly acquaint yourself with the three main firing types. First, there's the "gatling" shot which shoots a volley of bullets straight in front of your ship. After that there is the "winder" shot which shoots bullets diagonally from your ship, helping you reach enemies that aren't directly in front of you. Finally there's the "lock-on" which, as expected, locks onto opponents. Each of these shots can be charged for stronger versions. Unfortunately, there are not power ups or specials to collect as you play through levels. Aside from the camera, it seems like mostly a standard game. However, that's not fair to say just yet as Ether Vapor Remaster does have a bit more to show for itself. It does so in its presentation of gameplay. As long as you can handle the movements of the camera the game treats players to some interesting on screen visuals. Sometimes bosses will fly around in the foreground or background, which means you can't shoot them with just a standard shot. Locking on will get those lurking off the "main" screen but that's not the neat part. Seeing mechs zoom around all planes of the screen is pretty fun to watch and makes it feel like you're in much greater danger. When they stick out of your reach and spew laser shots at you in 2.5D it becomes more intense. There was certainly a lot of thought put into making the game seem dynamic. Some enemies have specific patterns which dodge in and out of your reach and certain attacks are downright brutal. Sometimes though it artificially raises the game's difficulty. Judging exactly where a laser wall is coming from in 2.5D is pretty weird. Having an enemy flying around while you're stuck in a sidescrolling plain toss bullets at you is also often weird. Where are they falling? It's tough to tell at times, although thankfully this isn't the bulk of the game. Still, there are instances like this which required multiple playthroughs simply because it was hard to judge where the safe zones were. There are seven stages in the game and that's a pretty typical amount for this type of game. Beyond having a simple boss at the end of each stage though there are also little shooting segments in the middle. These don't particularly rely on skill but help you rank up your points. The segments basically launch a load of rockets at you and you lock on and shoot down as many as possible. These moments, despite being in 2.5D quite often, didn't cause the same stresses as some boss battles did. Because of this, it made me wonder why they couldn't have kept this working visual design for other parts of the game? Well, at least this will prove to be a helpful example for Edelweiss' next game. Overall the game takes about 30 minutes to complete if you can work through it perfectly. For most, you'll probably have to play some stages a handful of times before being able to beat them. The game isn't hugely difficult, but still offers a challenge for a wide range of players. You can't change the number of credits - it's fixed at two. However, you can change how many points you must accumulate to refill the ship's shield. Between those options and stages that are about 8 minutes, even novice players should be able to beat the game if they're persistent enough. So where does this game fall on the spectrum of shoot 'em ups? It is something that was obviously produced with love by the developers but it isn't the best example of the genre. The graphics are nicely updated "Remastered" from the original Ether Vapor, but still look mostly PS2 era. Any fan would probably tell you that graphics aren't important to shooters, and they aren't, but it may put someone off. Backgrounds are nice and scroll by fast to create a great illusion of speed but they're not too creative themselves. Skies, cityscapes, and hidden bases are about as creative as it gets. Bosses often look like typical mecha characters, although the end boss is quite creative. It's hard to say that Ether Vapor Remaster isn't an excellent game because you can tell that the developers adore the genre. Still, despite their love they seem to have made some mistakes in creating their own game. The camera changes are sometimes jarring, it can be hard to tell where bullets fall, and overall the production could still use more tuning up. Fans of the genre will enjoy the game though, and at $8 it becomes much easier to overlook the issues. Overall, don't expect the most amazing shooter you've ever played, but it's competent and is a most pleasant ride. Pros + Solid shooting mechanics + Bosses exhibit a variety of attack styles + Good difficulty for many players Cons - Camera changes can be disorienting - Sometimes hard to tell where bullets are - Uninspired enemy design Overall: 5 (out of 10) Average Fans of the shoot 'em up genre will enjoy Ether Vapor Remaster as an inexpensive burst of fun.