Review: Mary Skelter: Nightmares

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MSN_bg_pcIdea Factory/Compile Heart games can be hit or miss affairs, but their latest, Mary Skelter: Nightmares is (for my money) one of their best games (and best dungeon crawlers) to date thanks to taking chances with a few tried and true formulas and smacking most them right in their sweet spots. It’s got the turn-based dungeon crawl aspects of the Wizardry series mixed in with real-time chase/combat scenarios, excellent production values and yep, a bit of M-rated fan service lightly sprinkled on top for good measure.

While parts of the plot can be somewhat pedestrian in their usage of familiar anime/manga tropes, things take a few interesting turns as the game goes on. The use of well-known mostly female characters from popular fairy tales works quite well provided your brain properly detaches them from any imagery you might recall (or: you need to re-imagine everyone as anime gals). Of course, the gameplay is where it’s at and what’s here will keep you hooked in to the very end (and then some).  If you’re a fan of the aforementioned Wizardry, Etrian Odyssey, Demon Gaze, and Dungeon Travelers 2 among other dungeon crawlers, this one’s a drop everything and go kiss your Vita if you own one event.

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Just An Update Or Two

“When you wake up and the world hasn’t ended, that’s at least good enough for a second cup of coffee.”

Ah, senior citizen logic. No, not from me, silly. Some older guy in the elevator here spontaneously said that the other day and it made me laugh out loud. Anyway, it’s kind of busy on a few fronts these days, but yeah, yeah – more reviews are incoming.

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This one’s fun and weird so far, so heads up if you like those Idea Factory/Compile Heart dungeon crawlers that borrow heavily from the classic Wizardry series while adding a few interesting JRPG twists. There are a few other (mostly) RPG-related reviews coming as well, but we’ll get to them over say, the next week. It’s tricky to make it through some recent games where you’ve got cut scenes that feature a novel’s worth of text with a novella of lore to wade through and you want to read every word.

I’ve been plowing through a stack of movies as well so my to-do pile is now a comfortable collection I can stroll past without feeling like I have to watch a film or three I’m not in the mood for. Amusingly enough, I’ve been stacking by genre and country, so you may see a few too many posts in a row about Japanese, Italian, or French films I’ve received. Or not, as I’m playing this my ear at the moment.

Was that a Blue Velvet reference? Oh, I don’t know. I think I need a new nap or something. Back in a bit.

-GW

Review: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death

While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, MeiQ has a few surprises for those thinking it’s just another fan service packed JRPG. Lengthy and packing in some cool ideas, it’s a solid genre entry worth picking up.

meiq_cg7 Platform: PlayStation Vita
Developer: Idea Factory/Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 9/13/2016
MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: B (80%) BUY IT!

At first glance (and second… and third), MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death looks like many other fan-service JRPGs packed with gals bursting out of their too-skimpy outfits ripe for waifu fantasies from those eager fans into that sort of thing. Fortunately, a mighty good game lurks past that booby trap facade and this is one Labyrinth worth a full inspection and yes, another Iffy game you’ll want to have in your library. Once you get over the costume designs, there’s a long and challenging game here to conquer with a fine combat system, albeit one that doesn’t change all that much once you sink a few hours in.

The plot is pretty basic stuff with four towers that need to be conquered in order to beat the evil so-and so trying to rule and ruin the land. Adding mechs each gal can pilot to the mix is a great touch, as it allows for some interesting pairings as well as gives you a squishy backup plan should a mech fall in battle. That’s right, your gals and whatever skills they’ve learned are your last resource if their metallic rides go down in flames. Initially, it’s a lousy thing as the gals aren’t exactly powerful and it takes time to gain a full party anyway. But, after a chunk of time, they’ll improve and all gain some nice, useful skills that can do decent damage. You’ll still want those mechs in good shape, though.

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MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death Gallery

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Be careful what you wish for, especially when you wish for something saucy like “anime gals in a DUNGEON… with mecha!, Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!” and you’re not very specific beyond that. *POOF* Your wish is Idea Factory International‘s command (*whipcrack!*) with the upcoming Vita game MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, coming to PlayStation Vita September 13 (North America) and the 16th in Europe.

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IF, Compile Heart, and Makaiichibankan’s deviously deep dungeon crawler looks to captivate and challenge JRPG fans with its cute cast and no doubt challenging turn-based combat that should please those who liked similar gal-centric JRPGs or even mixed party titles. Here’s a gallery full of game trailers and screens to ogle along with some info about what to expect continuing right below the jump.

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Review: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies

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Zombies_ESRB_coversheetPlatform: PlayStation Vita/PSTV

Developer(s): Idea Factory/Compile Heart/Tamsoft

Publisher: Idea Factory International*

# of Players: 1 – 4

MSRP: $39.99 (retail/PSN)

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Sneaky, Tamsoft, SNEAKY. Teaming up with Idea Factory and Compile Heart and getting your Onechanbara in my Neptunia while making it a ridiculously fun and ridiculously cute hack & slash with a ridiculous amount of replay value. Ridiculous! MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies is an absolutely silly blast of a game that’s easy to get into and deserves a sequel of some sort down the road. Yeah, I missed out on Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed (it’s on my list of stuff to get to, really!), so I’m going into this one as it’s an all-new and different experience.

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While it’s packed with characters and content, the “Hey, let’s put on a show!” hijinks that revolve around the female students of Gamicademi trying to save their school from closing by making a low-budget zombie movie also makes for a pretty amusing plot. The game is part visual novel, part action/RPG and definitely going to take up a small to moderate chunk of your time thanks to all the variables that come into play. That tongue-in-cheek humor it bashes you over the head with gets you into the groove right from the start, but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Your Vita will either pop out of its hiding place and kiss you for making this purchase or slap you in the face with a smirk if you get too serious while playing this game. Or both. Continue reading

MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies: Time To Kill (Some Kind of Cute Undead)

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Zombies_ESRB_coversheetWell, in the North American territories, that is. You gamers overseas in Europe and the UK need to hold on for a few days longer, but you’ll get what’s coming to you soon. Or more precisely, those nasty zombies will get what’s coming to them from YOU (POW!). MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies hits the Vita running, all cute gals slapping the slime out of zombies in colorful, fast-paced action. I hear a voice saying “Get it, or get HIT!”, but that’s my brain calling forth demons or an old slogan I saw somewhere something. Still, this one looks as if it’ll be portable thrills galore guaranteed to make you miss your bus or train stop.

Hey, don’t blame ME for that, now. I play most of my games at home so the only stop I miss is when I forget to stop playing. Yes, I probably have a problem. But that’s not your problem, right?

The trailer, in case you need a friendly reminder to nab this one soon (as in NOW!):

IFFY News Is Not “Iffy” At All. It’s Quite Awesome For JRPG Fans

So, Idea Factory International has been a bunch of busy bees of late. This is a great thing for fans of their console and PC games as a number of cool projects are coming soon and you’ll be wanting to get that disposable income dispenser (or wallet, purse or whatever you keep your plastic in) pointed in the general direction of whatever you’re reading this on to do some pre-ordering now or flat out buying later. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s hop to it!

BlancZombies_US_logo_1000px-660x237 MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies Limited Edition Pre-orders!

Look at it. Just LOOK AT IIIIIIIIT!

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Isn’t is all so CUTE AS HELL? Yes it is! And all that stuff is a measly $62.99? Excellent. Now stay out of my way while I hug my monitor into a different shape (squeeeeeze, CRACK!!… oops). Um, anyway. For a more sedate (and actually informative) look at what’s in the box, see below:


Somehow, even that teeny-tiny unboxing is CUTE. Or David and Ari at IFI are giants straight out of Attack on Titan (without the crazy faces and people eating) and that box is the correct size. Hmmm… Anyway, go get that LE before it sells out, I say. The game hits retail and digital May 10 (a few days after my birthday IFFY you’re buying me a gift. HINT. HINT. HINT.

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Gallery: MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies

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Idea Factory, Compile Heart and seemingly ever busy Onechanbara developer Tamsoft team up once again to bring you what’s looking like another fun chase & chop experience set in the multi-game Hyperdimension Neptunia universe. Now, I missed out on Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed last year thanks to a stupidly busy backlog and me not paying attention to a bunch of games I should have played. But there’s no way I’m going to pass up this *new* guaranteed guilty pleasure called MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies.

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Set to hit the Vita April 26 (North America) and April 29 (Europe), the game will feature 1-4 player action, a cast of cute gals versus not so cute undead and plenty of unlockable customization options. Continue reading

PS Vita Review: Trillion: God of Destruction

Trillion_Coversheet_US_Front_1000pxPlatform: PlayStation Vita/PS TV

Developer: Compile Heart

Publisher: Idea Factory

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $39.99 (retail/PSN)

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B+ (85%)

 

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While it’s not perfect, fans of Compile Heart’s offbeat and often gal-filled JRPGs should find Trillion: God of Destruction right up their respective alleys. Actually, you’ll probably need to travel through at least one of those alleys and hope there’s a game shop located somewhere at the end of that trip so you can pick up a retail copy if digital isn’t your thing. The game feels like a hybrid that mixes Princess Maker-style mini-games, nice art that looks quite like a Disgaea spinoff (former team members from that series worked on the game), and core gameplay that’s akin to a Mystery Dungeon game meets Vandal Hearts 2 but with a more awkward camera that will mildly to moderately mess with your mojo.

After the titular titan Trillion bumps off Zeabolos, the Supreme Overlord of the Underworld, his brother and about a million minions, it’s up to his female Overlords to get revenge on that massive one plus a dozen zeroes HP creeping terror before it lays waste to their home. Poor Zeab is revived and reconstructed to the best of her ability by a lady with an appropriately Faustian name (Faust) who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. She creates a single ring that the Overlords can wear that will boost their powers considerably provided they also train while Trillion sleeps parked near the gates to the Underworld. Of course, Faust’s deal comes at the cost of Zeab’s soul once the big baddie goes beddie-bye for good. But whomever defeats Trillion instantly becomes his successor and new Overlord of the Underworld with all the riches, sweets and other treats that entails. Continue reading

Trillion: God of Destruction Trailer: You’ve That Many Reasons to Grab This Vita Game


 

Trillion banner ifiIdea Factory and veteran developer Compile Heart have a nifty new game for Vita owning JRPG/SRPG fans looking for something hellishly cool and fun to play. Trillion 1,000,000,000,000: God of Destruction, coming to the PlayStation Vita on March 29 for a MSRP of $39.99.

The game is a cornucopia of doom and cuteness that features a single titanic enemy with that titular trillion hit points that needs to be stopped before it stomps all over the six layers of the Underworld after its ruler is severely incapacitated. Players can expect a hybrid of the classic Princess Maker with a shake of Disgaea-like humor and a initially daunting battle system where you pit sassy female Overlords against Trillion after training them in assorted skills pre-battle. There’s a lot more, but this isn’t a review as you’ll see when you read the next sentence under that screenshot below.

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Guess what? Yours truly is currently in the process of reviewing the game, so I’ll have to keep you all in suspense for a wee bit other than to note quite an entertaining time is being had here. Back with more on Trillon shortly.