Vita

pipes_4

When looking at the lineup of games published by NIS America, hToL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary doesn’t exactly fit in. You’re expecting to see more anime-styled RPGs and strategy games with a lot of humor and assorted silliness. You’re expecting to see months of gameplay and a sensibility that seems out-of-place among most Western titles but right at home on a system like the Vita. You’re expecting to see exploding penguins.

The last thing you’re expecting to see is The Firefly DiaryREAD MORE

Grim Fandango Remastered_20150131171555

With the current renaissance of the adventure game underway thanks to companies like Telltale, it can be easy to forget the genre had dried up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Before then, LucasArts, at the top of its game, released a slew of excellent adventure titles, many of which are considered classics. The last in its long line of well-received adventure games was Grim Fandango, a neo-noir comedy taking place in the Land of the Dead.

Widely considered one of the best adventure games around upon its initial release, Grim Fandango has now been faithfully remastered, containing everything that made the original special and then some.

READ MORE

Citizens04

Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE

fantasyhero3

Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy achieves the gameplay goals that it sets out to hit quite well. It functions as a straight dungeon crawl, with individual quest runs broken up into bite-sized five-to-15-minute chunks. It isn’t the most interesting game, and it doesn’t really push the envelope in any new ways, but it is fun and it is designed well for portable play. If you enjoy short dungeon runs, beating up bad guys and collecting loot, then you should seriously consider Fantasy Hero. READ MORE

skbonappetit3

When thinking about crossovers and spinoffs for an action title, cooking and rhythm games certainly aren’t the first things that come to mind. Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit mixes the two with the cast of Senran Kagura into a silly spinoff title and brings the same style that is a hallmark of the series. READ MORE

projectdivaF2nd2

After years of Japan-only releases, Sega took a shot at expanding Hatsune Miku’s rhythm game reach Westward in 2013 with a PS3 release of Project Diva F. It apparently worked, as not only did the Vita release of that game follow soon after, but now we’re getting the sequel — and with extra localization work and a Vita retail edition, Sega’s betting even more on this game’s success. READ MORE

rollersoftherealm1

I found myself constantly surprised by Rollers of the Realm. Phantom Compass has managed to blend pinball gameplay with RPG mechanics in the absolute best way. There’s no denying that Rollers is a digital game, and there is no effort put into making it a simulacrum of a real pinball table. Physical pinball is great, but sometimes it’s nice to use electronic platforms for more, and that’s exactly what Phantom Compass has done here. READ MORE

2014 has proven to be a fruitful year for fans of the Tales franchise. Tales of Hearts R marks the third release, following remaster compilation Tales of Symphonia Chronicles and fan-friendly sequel Tales of Xillia 2. It’s been billed by some as the great JRPG hope for the faltering Vita, the result of a fan-led campaign to see more localized titles make it to American shores for its content-starved audience.

It isn’t a bad game by any means, but it suffers from the weight of the expectations it bears. READ MORE

BOIrebirth3

There’s no denying that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a huge package offering lots of replay value. With over 200 items, randomly-generated maps and enemy placements and rewards for completing the game multiple times, Rebirth is a completionist’s dream. READ MORE

samuraiwarriors4c

Another Musou game? Yes, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo America have been quite prolific as of late, pumping out releases in the Warriors series faster than most can keep track of them. Even those who love the franchise may be feeling some fatigue, and thinking that Samurai Warriors 4, the latest release, is a good one to skip and take a break. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your wallet), the game justifies itself with refined combat, interesting battlefield strategy and a level of care and polish that has been absent in most Omega Force releases. READ MORE