Pocky & Rocky With Becky On Virtual Console: Bust Up Cute Baddies, Not Your Wallet

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Given that complete used copies of the low production run Game Boy Advance title Pocky & Rocky With Becky can fetch over $200 and new/sealed ones over $300, Natsume finally getting the game out on the Wii U Virtual Console is a great thing for those who missed out on the game and don’t have hundreds to drop on a copy these days.

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For a fraction off those ridiculous auction prices (and yes, the Japanese versions of that cart run a lot more) you can get all the deceptive cuteness the game delivers along with harder than you may have thought gameplay. Well, the game isn’t really that difficult. It’s just that one hit from any enemy will knock Pocky, Rocky or Becky out of action and if you lose all your lives, you’re restarting from the beginning of one of the seven stages. Anyway, that’s your heads up for this one. Natsume has been on a nice roll of getting a few GBA titles onto the eShop such as this one, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and the great, under appreciated RPG, Car Battler Joe (which also comes highly recommended).

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Other Natsume GBA games headed to the eShop are Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town along with the two Medabots games, Medabots Rokushu and Metabots Metabee. All three should be popping up in the eShop in North America later this year. Alrighty then, let me let you get yours. Off and away with you now – you’ve got some cool (and now cheaper) games to buy and play.

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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.

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!

Continue reading

E3 2014: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley – Not The Only Thing Natsume Showed This Year, But…

Alphadia Genesis Wii UYou wouldn’t know this by looking at their North American YouTube page. Now, I’m not singling Natsume out for anything mean here at all, folks. They’re a solid but much smaller publisher than some of the bigger and busier ones who show stuff at E3 and to me, that’s precisely why they NEED more updates on their main video page. Granted, they DO have a nice social presence on facebook with a page that’s updated fairly frequently. however, not everyone has or wants a facebook account and YouTube works quite well as far as letting potential customers see what’s coming (despite the pain in the butt that is Google+ hampering some basic functionality there).

Anyway, as I’ve been trumpeting, Alphadia Genesis is also coming (a port of an iOS and Android JRPG) and I posted about the rest of their lineup before the big show. Hey, I just want to see the little guys succeed, so if I can generate some thrills and hits for Natsume and their cool lineup of upcoming and already available games, I’m doing my job here.

E3 2014: Natsume’s Lineup Currently Has More Games Than Capcom’s. This Could Get Interesting…

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Let’s see now. Here’s Natsume’s E3 lineup:

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley (Nintendo 3DS)
A-Train: City Simulator (Nintendo 3DS)
Alphadia Genesis (Wii U)
Reel Fishing: Master’s Challenge (PlayStation Vita)
End of Serenity (Sony PSP)
Reel Fishing Pocket 2: Ocean (iOS)
Gabrielle’s Monstrous Duel (iOS)
Hometown Story: Pocket (iOS)
Ninja Strike (iOS)

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And here’s what Capcom is packing:

Dead Rising 3 (PC)
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (iOS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (Nintendo 3DS)
Ultra Street Fighter IV (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Nintendo 3DS)

Ready? FIGHT!

little orbit logo blkOr not really. For that matter, new-ish publisher Little Orbit also will have more games at E3 than Capcom does. Granted this isn’t really astonishing news, as both small and large publishers have been condensing or expanding their lineups over the past few years in order to maximize profits and it seems that we’re at that stage where small and large games make the cut at these companies. Granted, Ultra Street Fighter IV or Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will easily sell more copies than Reel Fishing and End of Serenity combined. But for a guy like me who just wants to play good games no matter who publishes them, these leaner, meaner lineups are almost a godsend because I don’t need to wade through junk to get to the treasure.

Naturally, not all of these games I’ll get to will be great, but fun is a more important factor than anything else for me at the end of the day, as is enough QA (quality assurance) that’s occurred pre-release that keeps what I play playable from beginning to end without a patch in sight (or at least one that fixes anything that’s busted). Anyway, I’ll have a more complete list of E3 games from more publishers shortly.My inbox is filling up with official lists and I want to do them all in one post as opposed to dropping in multiples.

Back in a bit.

Natsume Keeps The PSP Flame Alive With End of Serenity!

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The PSP has become the handheld that just won’t die even though I’d gather that the bulk of owners have moved onto the Vita. On the other hand, I have three PSP’s here and one Vita and some months, one of those older handhelds gets more usage than the newer, pricier one. Anyway, like last year’s sleeper hit, Mystic Chronicles, Natsume’s upcoming RPG End of Serenity started life as a mobile phone game in Japan and is making it overseas this summer as a digital release via PSN. Although the game will make an appearance at this year’s E3, I won’t be there, so I’ll be like the rest of you intrigued about this old-school JRPG and snapping it up when it drops as a download. If the latter game was any indication, gamers can expect a very long and highly challenging JRPG that looks and plays like it belongs on a 16-bit console (which is always a great thing in my book).

More news to come once Natsume rattles my inbox some more – stay tuned…

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey Trailer: Girls Gone Fishin’ Will Hook You In…

It seems in Yumi’s Odd Odyssey
hook, line and sinker set you free
As you strange maps
Avoiding doom (yes, mind the gaps!)

There’s also strange fish and more to fight
(or get away from, far out of sight)
Practice up and learn the moves
(don’t toss that handheld if you lose!)

It may seem tough, but it takes skill
You’ll get it soon by force of will
It’s coming soon via the eShop
keep an eye peeled for it to drop!

Natsume is wisely bringing a fun entry in the Japanese cult classic Yumihara Kawase series to North America under the moniker Yumi’s Odd Odyssey to the Nintendo 3DS soon (it seems this month) and as you can see from that video above, it’s pretty cute… and pretty challenging. Hooking and hauling your character of choice up and around assorted levels as the clock ticks away requires patience and timing, but there’s a load of levels here and too much fun to be had once you get into the mechanics. I haven’t played a game in this series in a few years, so I know I’ll be rusty as hell. But that won’t stop me one bit (although I suck at real life fishing as well!). Unless I get caught up in writing more crappy poetry like the example above and forget all about playing the game…