Review: Revenant Saga (PS4/Vita)

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RS_PS4Kemco and veteran developer Exe-Create have had a particular formula with their mobile games where they cook up simple, nostalgic stories with casts of the usual JRPG suspects, sticking them in games that reuse some assets and range from OK to pretty darn good. You’ll also get a relatively straightforward game on the surface that’s actually hiding a ton of optional content for those willing to grind up hundreds of levels and gain some incredibly powerful skills.

Initially released on mobile back in 2014 and ported to PS3/PS4 and Vita back in May (and now on Switch) Revenant Saga does a pretty fine job of recapturing some of the glory days of the 16-bit era while adding a few modern twists that reflect the game’s mobile origins. While its mix of nicely done sprite art clashes with the polygonal battle scenes, the game works well overall in delivering a decently nostalgic experience. Granted, you’ll really need to work to get to some of the more challenging content. But if grinding appeals to you, there’s a lot to love here.

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In the game, you’re Albert, a young man who volunteers for an experimental process that is supposed to help cure a plague that’s run rampant. Unfortunately, the mad doctor passing for helpful doing the treatment turns out to be using humans as hosts for Revenants, powerful demons that are part of a few plans (some of which the not so good doctor is totally unaware of).

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Review: Symphony of Eternity (3DS)

SOEtitleFor the record, I was so tempted to write this review in 6-point type just to vent a little at Kemco and World Wide Software for this port of their otherwise decent mobile game, Symphony of Eternity. But I kind of like having regular readers so that plan died a merciful death and you get something a lot more readable. Anyway, the game, taken on its merits is a fine and dandy revisit to the nostalgic days of 8-bit console RPGs and there’s a decent amount of content for that low price point of $7.99 (yes, it’s worth a buy).

The big caveat is the playing the game on either the standard 3DS or worse, a 2DS will subject your eyeballs to some pretty darn tiny visuals on the main screen and a tinier map on the second screen. Worse, the game uses a few different camera positions and only one allows you to see what you’ve paid for with a full screen. Amusingly enough, that viewpoint is a standard overworld view… but you actually only use that map for getting from one point to another as the game has no overworld combat. Every fight takes place in dungeons of assorted size where that larger screen would have been very welcome, thank you much.

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Symphony of Eternity VS My Old Eyes

SoE_Nintendo.PNGGrrr. I like a few of Kemco’s old-school style JRPGs, but I avoid the mobile versions because I hate playing games on a phone and having ads pop up every five minutes because I’m a complete cheapskate who doesn’t like buying additional content if a game says it’s free to play or has a budget price point.

Amusingly enough, I’ve picked up a few of their PSP, Vita and Nintendo 3DS releases over the years and for the most part, like what I’ve played. That said, their latest Nintendo 3DS/2DS game, Symphony of Eternity, ($7.99, Nintendo eShop) is making me go cuckoo because while I like it so far, warts and all… it’s hard to see the darn game thanks to a kooky design choice.

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Humble Mobile Bundle Brings Kemco RPG’s Galore For Dirt Cheap

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If you’re into a bit of 90’s JRPG nostalgia, own an Android compatible device and have yet to try some of Kemco’s modern but retro games yet, this new Humble Mobile Bundle is going to be right up your alley.  Pay a buck to get three games, but beat the average price of $5.56 and get six titles with a seventh to unlock soon and up to three more games if the total sales reach goals of $100k, $150k, and $200k.

Humble Mobile Bundle Kemco
 

Here’s a quick look at one of the games in this deal, The Legend of Ixtona, which is a turn-based strategy RPG:

Remember, the more you pay (or get friends in on the cheap deal), the more games come your way down the road. This sale lasts forabout two weeks, so jump on it and spread the good word while you’re at it.

Review: Alphadia Genesis (Wii U)

Alphadia Genesis_MainArtPlatform: Wii U

Developer: EXE-Create

Publisher: Natsume

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating:

Official Site

Score: B+ (85%)

As surprising as it is that there’s been a lack of original Japanese RPGs on the Wii U, it’s an equal surprise that Alphadia Genesis manages to be a pretty solid port of a mobile game and for those who only own console, the only true JRPG currently available for the system. Released for iOS and Android earlier this year by Kemco, developer EXE-Create has cooked up a game full of familiar tropes that works hard at delivering the nostalgic goods. For the most part it succeeds, thanks to nice 2D visuals, speedy combat and a fairly lengthy quest. However, veteran JRPG fans will wish the developer had gone the extra mile in a few spots that would have made the game even more impressive… Continue reading

Tuesday Means Furniture Tetris and Other “Thrilling” Things…

(Thanks, Cameron Lightfoot!)
 

Today was a nicely dull but annoying yet slightly productive one. My mood is shifting a bit restlessly with all this deconstruction and reconstruction going on. Moving some stuff around for the work to be done on Friday, vacuuming the kitchen again thanks to a busted Pyrex measuring cup (I didn’t do it, but I’ll miss that thing, as it was an old one that served me well over the many years I had it) and making a short list of gripes to discuss with the management here took up a lot of energy. In the midst of this, I completed Alphadia Genesis on the Wii U, unlocking what’s looking like a bonus chapter to the story in the process (nice!). That needs to be reviewed this week as well as a few other things, but we’ll see where I am tomorrow.

Okay, off to hunt for dinner – I just got some fun news in my inbox, but perhaps I’ll save it for tomorrow… we’ll see.

Alphadia Genesis Arrives on Wii U: Finally, a JRPG On a Console That Should Have MORE!

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It’s a sad thing indeed to see a Nintendo console with no original JRPGs on it after over a year on the market, but that’s finally being rectified. Even though Natsume’s freshly released Alphadia Genesis is actually a mobile port of a Kemco mobile game, it’s going to be the first “new” JRPG Wii U owners have played. Whee, you! Anyway, here’s the plot of this one, for those of you who don’t own tablets and may want to know what’s what before you buy this from the eShop:

Alphadia, Year 1092: Fifteen years have passed since the end of the terrible Energi Wars, where clones were used as weapons. Two kingdoms, after nearly destroying each other and the natural resources of Energi, signed an important peace treaty, and have been co-operative neighbors ever since: Augustine and Archleign, where the story of Alphadia Genesis begins.

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Sure, it’s not a visual showpiece for the hardware, but like WaterMelon’s gorgeous (but faux) JRPG Pier Solar and the Great Architects, it’ll be the go-to game genre fans will most likely gravitate top while they wait for more info on Monolith Soft’s new Xenoblade game next year. I’ll have a review up in about a week, as I just got a code today and am setting aside time to play this one from start to finish. Heck, I’m not doing anything for Thanksgiving, not having a kitchen to use and all, so I may as well play some games while I’m on that diet. Okay, it’s not THAT bad, but it’s pretty inconvenient to be waiting so long for things to go back to normal. Thank goodness for games!

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Alphadia Genesis is out NOW via the Nintendo eShop for $14.99. Check it out if you’re a genre fan looking for a fix on a console that needs a good deal more games like this.

Alphadia Genesis Mini-Update: Seven More Screens To Tickle Your JRPG Fancy…

MainScreen I’m quite sure someone at Natsume just LOVES teasing gamers half to death and is probably chuckling merrily about it somewhere safe with a nice fat cream puff and a cup of good Genmaicha. Dropping a mere seven more screenshots from its upcoming Wii U download-only JRPG Alphadia Genesis into my inbox and stealthily escaping into the night air, a hint of sugar in the breeze as the ninja swoops up onto a rooftop and then dives down into the dogwood trees below. Good thing they planted those trees about a year or two back and removed the chain link fence, as that’s seven stories to the ground otherwise.

Anyway, here you go – the game is coming to the eShop for the Wii U later this year. back with more when that sneaky ninja makes a comeback…

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Review: End of Serenity

EOS_ArtPlatform: Sony PSP/Vita

Developer: World Wide Software/Kemco

Publisher: Natsume

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 & Up)


Official Site

Score: B (80%)

Are you jonesing for some old school JRPG bliss but find yourself pressed for time? Are you one of those folks new to JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games) and want to dive in headfirst without much fuss and bother, just a fun and simple adventure to last you maybe a few days if you play on and off to and from work`? Well, Natsume has a little something for you in End of Serenity, a slightly enhanced “port” of an iOS/Android/mobile game from 2013 called End of Aspiration. No, I don’t know why the title was changed other than to guess that since “Aspiration” (which in the case of the game means “a hope or ambition of achieving something”) can also mean “the action or process of drawing breath”, some sarcastic smarty pants out there might think the title could also be read as “End of Breathing”, which isn’t a good name for a game.

Anyway, what’s here is a quite easy to get into game that can be played three ways. You can blow through the game in under nine hours total (a single sitting for those used to blocking out longer stretches of time for more epic length games), missing out on some bonus areas, items and skills. You can easily more than double that time by “farming” up fish to earn ESP (End of Serenity Points) that unlock those extra areas and goodies, or you can simply pay a few dollars more than what you just spent on PSN to buy as many ESP as you need, allowing you to access everything right from the beginning. No, this isn’t a “pay to win” game at all, as even if you’re lazy (crazy? not frugal?) enough to buy up enough ESP to bring the cost of the game up to what a JRPG would cost circa 1990 or so, you still have to play the game to see what you paid for. For my review, I decided to tackle two of the three methods at the same time, but I’ll explain that a bit more below the jump… Continue reading

Gallery: End of Serenity

End  of Serenity_LogoJust when I was lamenting Natsume not updating its YouTube page, I get a load of screenshots and art from its E3 lineup to run here, so I’ll do just that over the next couple of days. first up is Edge of Serenity, the PSP exclusive (I’ll gather it’s Vita compatible but won’t confirm that until I hear it from someone out west) coming on June 24, 2014. As you can see this is all old-school JRPG goodness packed with classic 2D sprite art, turn-based battles and probably a very MIDI-esque music score to keep things nice and nostalgic.

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Character profiles have also been revealed for the principals, so let’s meet the cast, shall we?

Yute is a tough young merchant with a strong sense of wrong and right; the dangers of the road have sharpened his sword skills despite his tender age. He can’t bear to turn away when he sees injustice.

Eril, also known as the Azure Sorceress, is set on exposing the Underworld’s nefarious plans. Using an Atomigem-powered weapon known as an Accelerator, her cold demeanor hides a heart bruised by her upraising in a small orphanage that she strives desperately now to save.

Kat, with her jingling bells and cat-like ears, may look like a teen, but she insists she is in fact over 100 years old! Only when she opens up her heart and reveals her secret will she ever truly be understood.

Earon is an undisputed master of martial arts. With his snow white hair, it’s no surprise this trainer was thinking about retirement…that is, before he discovered that one of his former pupils might be involved in the Underworld, and has set off to discover the truth.

Kaede is a pupil trained by Earon, accompanying him on his critical mission. Rumors swirl that she is actually the last of a village of ninjas; only Kaede knows the truth, but she’s not exactly talking…

20 new screens are below the jump – make sure to grab End of Serenity next week when it arrives on PSN!

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