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Marvelous AQL

Lord of Magna photo
Lord of Magna

XSEED brings Lord of Magna west this spring


It's officially official
Feb 12
// Kyle MacGregor
A localization of Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven is in the works, XSEED just confirmed. Expect the Nintendo 3DS strategy role-playing game to arrive on western shores sometime this spring.
Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus gets a whole new batch of voyeuristic screenshots


I wasn't kidding, was I?
Jan 26
// Brittany Vincent
There's been a serious lack of Senran Kagura on Destructoid over the last few months, and I'm here to resolve that problem with a batch of screenshots from Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. The latest images include Asuka, Ikaru...
XSEED teasers photo
XSEED teasers

XSEED hints at the games it's localizing this year


HNNNNNNNNG!
Jan 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Those wily folks at XSEED are up to no good again, craftily teasing the Internet with crafty teasers. The localization studio shared a New Year's card via Facebook yesterday, one that foreshadows a handful of unannounced proj...
Rune Factory 4 photo
Rune Factory 4

Rune Factory 4 finally arrives in Europe next week


Yay!
Dec 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Rune Factory 4's journey to Europe has been a long and winding road. At one point, when developer Neverland went bankrupt and closed its doors, it looked like the role-playing game might never release in PAL territories. Luck...

Review: Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit!

Nov 12 // Brittany Vincent
Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! (PS Vita)Developer: MeteorisePublisher: XSEED GamesReleased: November 11, 2014MSRP: $14.99 Bon Appétit! gathers the entire Senran Kagura cast for a cooking competition set up to offer the winner a scroll that can grant a solitary wish. With such an astonishing prize on the line, word travels quickly to all the sprightly young ninja as they enter the cook-off to nab the scroll for themselves. Of course, it's all a front, a scheme from a geezer who wants to see the girls traipsing around in sexy aprons, but you can't fault an old man for trying. The girls give it their all and set out to humiliate one another in the name of making their dreams come true, and that's where you come in. Once you've started the game proper, Story Mode is where you'll want to head first to unlock special outfits, accessories, and extra content. You can choose from a healthy amount of the Senran Kagura girls, like Asuka, Ikaruga, Hibari, Hikage, and the rest of the gang. Each girl is saddled with her own brief snippet of visual novel-styled narrative as to why she's pursuing the special scroll. Most are hilariously awful, littered with double and triple entendres that revolve around the male anatomy or breasts. Asuka is one of the worst perpetrators, but I was consistently astounded by the localization team's unmatched efforts to go the extra mile and ensure line after line was simultaneously corny and sexually charged. [embed]283649:56308:0[/embed] It's fairly impressive, to be honest, and despite how absolutely inane it can be, refreshing to see a game nearly devoid of male characters take casual racy speech and toss it out so carelessly. It may be considered fanservice "for men," but it certainly isn't the men the girls are not-so-subtly flirting with in-game, and that's something I can get behind. If I were a lesser person, that could have been a dirty remark, but I'll refrain for the purposes of this review. After you've chosen a girl you'll partake in a multi-stage cooking competition, which locks your girl in fierce combat with varying opponents. Like a racier Iron Chef, dishes are established at the beginning of the match for both parties to create, with both girls assigned a station and their own cooking tools and materials. Except you don't ever actually do any cooking. Instead, you whip up the tasty meals assigned to you by way of pressing buttons in time to the beat -- this is a rhythm game, after all. Near the bottom of the screen are two tiers where symbols corresponding to the Vita's face buttons appear. It's your job to hit them as the music plays, a la Bust A Groove or PaRappa the Rapper. Sometimes you'll need to tap the note until the number above it reaches zero. You'll have to hold notes occasionally as well, while tending to button presses above or below it. The directional buttons come into play as well, so you'll have to think fast when two are on-screen at the same time. It's quite challenging on the highest difficulty setting, especially when it comes to songs with a higher BPM, though you're never given the option to select a song for each stage. There are three breaks in each song where the judge (the lecherous Grandpa himself) takes a moment to sample the dishes you've crafted thus far, and if you've managed to keep your ninja's meter full (as opposed to your opponent's color filling the bar) you'll come out on top. If by the end of the match you've created the superior dish each time, you'll emerge victorious. At the end of each judging round, the player on the losing end of the battle will have her clothes ripped in strategic places a bit more each time until she's left totally naked but for chibi anime faces to cover up the naughty bits -- because we're not adults here or anything and a little bit of nipple is far more scandalous than making penis joke after penis joke -- but I digress. At the end of each song the victor is subjected to a "humiliating" pose in which they're drizzled with chocolate syrup or various dessert toppings as they pose sensually. And then it's gone, done, onto the next one, because if you want to see the rest of the characters, you've got to get to work unlocking them through Story Mode. Otherwise, you could choose Arcade or Free Play for the thrill of the rhythm game without the unlockables. Unfortunately, the game's biggest pitfall comes in the form of the songs themselves. They're not exactly what I'd call memorable, with tunes channeling wedding marches, bizarre Christmas-like holiday doppelgangers, and a cavalcade of instrumental (and occasionally vocal) songs that are instantly forgettable. While you're locked in a heated cooking battle, it's easy to forgive this fact, but the most basic building block of a rhythm game is its songs. These songs simply aren't strong enough to act as the backbone of a title that revolves solely around them. There are a couple with vocals that will at the very least stand out, but for the most part they feel like accompanying background tracks in any run-of-the-mill JRPG. Luckily, they're just rollicking enough to provide a challenge and I suppose that's all that's really warranted here, though some cutesy pop songs could have spiced things up considerably. Still, this is a surprisingly meaty title that'll have you coming back again and again to best one difficulty level after another, even if it's just to collect special accessories with which you can outfit your girls. They're hilariously pandering (I chose a military outfit paired with a pacifier and cat ears) but they do alter the way your girl appears in each scene, even when she's hard at work cooking. It also seems that band-aids are the lingerie of choice for most of the girls. Who knew? I was hoping for some hardcore BDSM gear to really round things out, but the best I could find was a collar. The outfits paired with dialogue snippets make for some side-splitting screenshots, but if you take them be forewarned that the Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit! logo will be superimposed at the bottom right of each one for some unknown reason. Everything in this strange little rhythm game comes together in some weird way, from the girls posing as desserts to the fact that this is a musical cooking competition. It's a fluffy bit of cotton candy that works well with the core cast of characters, and Senran Kagura devotees as well as rhythm game fans alike should find something to enjoy here, even if it's just the fact that nearly every character route has inappropriate banter.
Bon Appétit! Review photo
Light and delicious
Some may call Senran Kagura inherently tasteless, but the series of action-packed brawlers has depth and satisfying combat. The games have swept the handheld community mainly because of their increasingly risqué conten...

Senran Kagura Cooking photo
Senran Kagura Cooking

Senran Kagura Bon Appétit hits Vita on November 11


Feeling peckish? Pick up a Penguin!
Oct 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit launches in North America on November 11, Marvelous announced today. The PlayStation Vita exclusive will then arrive in Europe the following day. The rhythm game is a spin-off of "the popular...

Review: Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus

Oct 14 // Brittany Vincent
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (Vita)Developer: Marvelous AQLPublisher: XSEED GamesReleased: October 14, 2014MSRP: $49.99 Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus explores the legendary shinobi, whose ninja (read: teenage girls) train in separate schools, one of which you’ll choose at the beginning of the game to follow through a special story mode and additional missions. You’ll be able to choose between 20 different brawlers in this third-person Dynasty Warriors-like adventure, where the order of the day is running your opponent into the dirt, slashing them up until you’re declared victor. This usually means your opponent has been left with shreds of her outfit left clinging to her body, humiliated on the field. Sound sexy? It’s a little more hilarious and over-the-top than sexualized, and that’s what makes the game work so well. That’s right, amongst double-doses of fanservice, bits of ecchi comedy sprinkled into several visual novel-styled expository scenes, and fragments of character development, you’ll pepper the unfortunate bad guys with light and strong attacks, dashes, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to rack up astronomical combos, in the neighborhood of 500-hit combos (and up) when you really get going. Or more, if you can stay in range of the several baddies tossed your way. The action is frenetic and furious, with combos performed via well-timed button presses and an advanced parry system that allows players who wish to delve further to defend themselves in a much more engaging manner. Juggling enemies with air dashes and ultimate attacks will keep you busy as well, but the fact of the matter is there’s plenty here to ensure you don’t get bored, even if it does feel repetitive as you continuously press the same buttons. There’s nothing groundbreaking about combat, but it feels satisfying all the same, especially when you watch that combo number rise all the way past 1000. It’s an addictive feeling, even if the banter between girls doesn’t quite make sense during combat, or when the arenas you’re fighting in feel constricted and narrow. As you fight you earn energy that can be unleashed via “Shinobi Transformations,” which allows for more powerful attacks. When your fighter takes enough damage, eventually her clothing and equipment will tear and deteriorate, leaving plenty of skin on display. Bouncing bosoms and pert bottoms can be seen everywhere, but the scenes that show them off are skippable. If it’s not something you want to stick around and see, you can skip past the transformation sequences themselves and get right back into battle. But if you want to get an eyeful, go ahead and soak it all in, because these scenes happen multiple times per battle. You can also go and view the character of your choice outside of battle just in case you didn’t get enough of them while locked in combat. When you’re not dueling with other shinobi or nameless bad guys, you can customize your characters as you level them up after each grueling battle with different hairstyles, clothes, and additional accessories. They’re fun to collect and can be quite silly when you head into battle, but keeping your favorite fighter decked out in different duds can be just as fun as beating the pants off your opponents — literally, of course. Or skirt. Or blouse, whichever the case may be. Unfortunately, this otherwise solid brawler is plagued by longer load times interspersed between campaign segments. Waiting to get started in the mission and waiting to restart is especially painful, and given the amount of action going on on-screen with some of these parts, it’s hard to understand why such long loading times are actually necessary. They’re a minor annoyance, granted, but still a gripe that players will no doubt notice. In many cases, the camera will also conspire to annoy the heck out of you with frustratingly obtuse angles, but luckily these bits can be worked around by manually fiddling with the analog stick. It’s important to note as well that Shinovi Versus looks and feels great. The cel-shaded character models are polished and move fluidly, and while there’s no English voice cast to choose from, the Japanese voice actresses do an excellent job, especially in terms of the “cute” factor you really need in games like these. You really feel as though you’re viewing a piece of animation, and it shows. It’s leagues ahead of Senran Kagura Burst in terms of both animation factor and content offering. If you’re a fan of the franchise or want to get in on some good, old-fashioned melee combat with undies and lady bits in between, Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus is a great place to start. Sure, it’s silly, superficial, and more than a little bit ridiculous, but that’s what makes it so darn fun. And if you dip into this Senran Kagura offering, chances are you’ll want to delve into the others as well. Buyers, don’t leave your Vita at home, ‘cause it’s Senran Kagura at night and it’s bouncin’, bouncin’.
Senran Kagura review photo
Bounce, baby, bounce, b-bounce, b-bounce
In the world of Senran Kagura, excess is the rule. The outfits are skimpy, the plot threads are ludicrous, and the breasts are laughably large, so huge in fact that you wonder how the skimpy bras the girls are eventually stri...

Rune Factory 4 Europe photo
Rune Factory 4 Europe

Rune Factory 4 is finally coming to Europe


XSEED publishing 3DS RPG as a digital-only title
Oct 03
// Kyle MacGregor
It seems Rune Factory 4's trip across the pond was postponed more so than cancelled, and the role-playing game will be turning up on European shores fairly soon. Speaking with Siliconera, XSEED vice president Ken Be...
Senran Kagura Vita photo
Senran Kagura Vita

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus hits Vita next month


The ninjutsu showdown begins October 14
Sep 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus is cutting a trail to North America on October 14, XSEED Games announced today. The PlayStation Vita brawler will strike Europe the very next day. The story is a continuation of Senran Kagura Burst, wherein groups of teenage ninja girls fight one another with stuff like giant frogs and huge stacks of pancakes. You know, because reasons.
IA/VT Colorful delay photo
IA/VT Colorful delay

PS Vita rhythm game IA/VT Colorful delayed to 2015


Marvelous concerned about quality, wants to make improvements
Sep 04
// Kyle MacGregor
IA/VT Colorful has been pushed back to 2015, Marvelous announced today. The PlayStation Vita rhythm game was first slated to launch in Japan this summer, before being postponed until autumn. The reason behind the latest delay...
Muramasa DLC photo
Muramasa DLC

Muramasa's 'Hell’s Where the Heart Is' DLC coming westward in September


Billed as the 'final DLC'
Aug 22
// Chris Carter
Yesterday we got some more details on Muramasa Rebirth's fourth DLC pack, regarding a demon girl and a quest based around a playboy. Now thanks to some information sent to us from publisher Aksys Games, we know that the DLC ...
Muramasa DLC photo
Muramasa DLC

Muramasa Rebirth's fourth DLC features a Demon Girl


The Oni Musume
Aug 21
// Chris Carter
If you're still following along with Muramasa Rebirth's great string of DLC, the fourth chapter is nearly ready for release. It features a demon girl called the Oni Musume, who has the power to transform and change her shape...
Forbidden Magna trailer photo
Forbidden Magna trailer

Rune Factory dev's new SRPG Forbidden Magna


I believe it's spelled 'manga'....
Aug 07
// Steven Hansen
Forbidden Magna (3DS) is coming to Japan in October courtesy of the team that made Rune Factory and Marvelous AQL. Xseed expressed interest in localizing it earlier this year, but nothing new on that front, so here's a trailer that at once intrigues me with its strategy mechanics and repulses me with its horrifying character models. 
Senran Kagura 2 photo
Senran Kagura 2

Senran Kagura 2 trailer sure is very Senran Kagura


That ground-pound also sure is something
Jul 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Marvelous is keeping its cheeky money-printing machine going strong with Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson. The latest effort from self-proclaimed "huge boob producer" Kenichiro Takaki is due to be unleashed in Japan starti...
Blue baby butt face photo
Blue baby butt face

Go kill half millipede, blue butt face Gigas in Soul Sacrifice Delta


Also, new costumes
Jul 04
// Steven Hansen
I actually played a bunch of the Soul Sacrifice demo, but never ended up diving into the full thing. Soul Sacrifice Delta has been updated with a new encounter and some whacked out threads (definitely some of the weirder...
Muramasa Rebirth DLC photo
Muramasa Rebirth DLC

Muramasa Rebirth's third DLC will drop next week in Japan


‘The Tale of the Seven Night Ghostly Curse’
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
The first two DLC packs for Muramasa Rebirth were released rapid-fire, and it's been a while since the last iteration. In Japan next week pack three of four will drop, which will once again play separately from the two ...
Senran Kagura PAL release photo
Senran Kagura PAL release

Senran Kagura Bon Appétit rating suggests EU release


Australian Classification Board labels rhythm game MA 15+
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura: Bon Appétit is everything but confirmed for PAL territories. The PlayStation Vita cooking rhythm game was handed a MA 15+ rating from the Australian Classification Board, foreshadowin...

Story of Seasons wants you to connect with your inner farmer

Jun 16 // Natalie Kipper
Story of Seasons puts additional emphasis the "lifestyle" aspect of the game. For the first time, there will be other farmers in your town to interact with. At times, you may be competing with them (like during festivals) and at other times, you will be working together. The Japanese game's subtitle translates to "Connect to a New World" and you can really see that theme appearing over and over again. One of the nice touches in which that idea plays out is the lack of a shipping box. I know, I know. Heresy, right? But, hear me out. Rather than just stuffing your goods in a box and never knowing where they go, Story of Seasons has you trading with other countries in the game's world. Send the citizens goods that they particularly crave and you'll get a postcard back. Little touches like that endear me to this title.  The game wants you to connect not only with the NPCs but also with other players. Using Wi-Fi, players can visit each others' farms. That may sound a tad simple but the rewards you reap from the experience flesh out the feature. Visiting friends can help with things like cheering you on as you work or watering your crops. Your friend's efforts may lead to rare crops growing. Sounds like incentive enough to me. Speaking of rare crops, Nintendo collaborated with the developers on this project, adding in some traditional Super Mario Bros. flora to the ecosystem. Thanks to this partnership, your farmer will be able to grow a Fire Flower, Super Mushroom, and a Super Star (okay, so that last one isn't really flora). These crops aren't just for show either. They'll have special effects. The Super Star, for example, will prevent crops from going bad for a period of time. What might have been considered the more tedious parts of previous games in the series are now streamlined. I'll freely admit how grateful I am that, right off the bat, 3 by 3 square plots can be seeded, watered and harvested at once. To most people, it may sound like a small thing and yes, in previous incarnations you could eventually upgrade your equipment to do this but I just love that the developers got rid of the process altogether. I think the new, quicker method actually adds to the experience, allowing you to focus more on other aspects of the game.  Beyond farming, customization looks like a big part of the experience. You can design the look of your farmer along with the layout of your farm as well as certain areas of the town. Some of the previous titles gave you free reign over your town's layout but Story of Season's has limited it to sections of land that you win ownership of during festival competitions. I can see some people being disappointed at this design choice but it looks like there will still be plenty for those customization maniacs to meticulously plan. And can we just take a moment to admire the game's aesthetic? Look through the screenshots in the gallery and if those happy critters in the lush meadows don't warm the cockles of your potentially jaded heart, I don't know what game will. I certainly came down with a case of the warm fuzzies. Get ready to reconnect with the land when Story of Seasons releases this winter.
Story of Seasons photo
The pastoral life never looked so friendly
Fans of farming and lifestyle sims are no doubt familiar with the confusion surrounding the Bokujō Monogatari series. Natsume owned the trademark on the English title, Harvest Moon, but XSEED had the relationship wi...

Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

E3's Senran Kagura showcase is both titillating and ridiculous


Ninja gals show off their assets at E3 2014
Jun 13
// Natalie Kipper
The Senran Kagura series takes fan-service to new heights in the upcoming brawler Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus and Senran Kagura Bon Appetít!, a rhythm cooking game. Both titles were available to demo at XSEED's booth at E3 2014.

So what the hell is happening with Harvest Moon?

Jun 06 // Kyle MacGregor
A little history on the series and the company behind it: Bokujō Monogatari was initially created by a company by the name of Pack-In-Video, which merged with Victor Entertainment, thereby becoming Victor Interactive Software. Marvelous Entertainment later bought them up, as corporations are wont to do, then merged with AQ Interactive to form Marvelous AQL. Marvelous and its predecessors had a relationship with Natsume for many years. Marvelous handled development and publishing in Japan, and Natsume put them out in America under the name Harvest Moon. And so things went until that association became a little more complex. In 2004, XSEED was born. XSEED serves as Marvelous AQL's subsidiary and North American publishing label. It does the very thing that Marvelous entrusted Natsume with, bringing Japanese games to western audiences. That said, Natsume still handled American distribution for Bokujō Monogatari until now. Well, sort of. Bokujō Monogatari has a spin-off series called Rune Factory. Publishing duties for these titles in America were passed back and forth between XSEED and Natsume up until the launch of Rune Factory 4 last year, and the subsequent bankruptcy of the studio behind the games, Neverland Co. It seems like Marvelous is no longer in need of Natsume's assistance, though. Instead, it's looking to use its in-house team going forward, at least for the time being. Why use a middleman for a job you're perfectly capable of doing yourself? "We are definitely interested in pushing the 'Marvelous' brand as much as possible," XSEED vice president Ken Berry revealed in an interview last year. Though Berry's group publishes titles from a number of Japanese companies, in 2013 XSEED was brought under the umbrella of Marvelous USA in the hopes of unifying and expanding operations. Part of that seems to involve localizing more Marvelous-developed titles than in years past. And Story of Seasons is a prime example of this. Of course, that's certainly a blow to Natsume. It's being cut out of a lucrative equation; Bokujō Monogatari has sold close to ten million copies worldwide. Publishing Harvest Moon games must have provided a nice cash flow for Natsume. And then Marvelous AQL suddenly turned off the taps. This reminds me of that old adage: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Well, Natsume has been given a lot of fish over the years. Perhaps it's time the company pulled one out of the river by itself. Natsume owns the Harvest Moon name. What's stopping it from making one? Well, nothing really. It may seem a little odd, but it's perfectly within their rights.  It seems like Natsume had a decent amount of notice that this was going to happen. According to Siliconera, the publisher opened a new office in Tokyo last year, and it's this same studio that's been developing Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley since early 2013. So that, as best as we can tell, is how we got here, with muddy waters and two sets of Harvest Moon games. But really, who are we to complain about more of a good thing?
XSEED & Natsume photo
A rose by any other name
A lot of folks seem pretty confused about what's going on with Harvest Moon. And that's perfectly understandable, because it's a tad complicated. Please allow me to try to explain the situation. XSEED recently announced a far...

Senran Kagura Cooking photo
Senran Kagura Cooking

XSEED localizing Senran Kagura Bon Appétit this winter


Cooking rhythm game to be showcased at E3
Jun 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura Bon Appétit will be cooking up a storm in North America this winter, XSEED Games announced today as a part of its E3 lineup. The PlayStation Vita rhythm game is a spin-off of Marvelous AQL's brawler ...
Senran Kagura 2 photo
Senran Kagura 2

Marvelous AQL reveals new Senran Kagura 2 gals


Introducing Daidouji and Rin!
Jun 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is coming to Japan on August 7, and I'm sure we'll see the Nintendo 3DS brawler here sooner or later. In the meantime, Marvelous AQL has unveiled a couple faces that will be joining the titl...
Story of Seasons photo
Story of Seasons

New Harvest Moon being localized as Story of Seasons


Coming to 3DS this winter
May 30
// Brittany Vincent
Call it stereotypical of me if you will, but I'm a huge fan of Harvest Moon and its spinoffs -- even the wannabe games. That's why I'm so excited to see Story of Seasons releasing via XSEED this upcoming winter. After 18 year...
Muramasa DLC discount photo
Muramasa DLC discount

Hot deal: Muramasa Rebirth DLC discounted on PSN


Both Genroku Legends available for $2.49 apiece
May 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Aksys Games has some nice deals on PlayStation Vita this week, with both episodes of Muramasa Rebirth's Genroku Legends downloadable content available for a song. A Cause to Diakon For and Fishy Tales of the Ne...
Soul Sacrifice Delta photo
Soul Sacrifice Delta

Here's a trailer to remind you Soul Sacrifice Delta launched today


Reminder that it's also digital only
May 13
// Brett Zeidler
I was never able to really get into Soul Sacrifice when I played it around this time last year, which probably had something to do with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate still getting plenty of attention from me at that point in tim...
Senran Kagura Vita photo
Senran Kagura Vita

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus jiggles to North America this fall


And there will be a limited edition physical release
May 08
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus is coming to PlayStation Vita in North America this autumn, XSEED Games announced today. The plot of Shinovi Versus unfolds shortly after the events of Senran Kagura Burst, revisiting t...
Rhythm Games photo
Rhythm Games

Take another look at trippy Vita rhythm game IA/VT Colorful


Coming to Japan on July 31
May 04
// Kyle MacGregor
IA/VT Colorful certainly lives up to its name. The kaleidoscopic rhythm game from Marvelous AQL stars vocaloid idol IA and is nothing if not vibrant. While the visuals are certainly eye-catching, those bullet hell-esque elem...
Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

XSEED keen on localizing more Senran Kagura games


Publisher 'may or may not' have an announcement planned
May 01
// Kyle MacGregor
XSEED boss Ken Berry once called the prospect of localizing Senran Kagura Burst a "scary proposition." Due to the title's subject matter and the conservative culture in the US, Berry surmised a western release had the "potent...

Review: Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming

Apr 14 // Kyle MacGregor
Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC)Developer: Marvelous AQLPublisher: Marvelous AQLRelease: April 4, 2014MSRP: $19.99 Half-Minute Hero veterans will be right at home in The Second Coming, as the follow-up hews closely to its predecessor's Hero 30 mode for the duration of the journey. For the uninitiated, that means a condensed and streamlined JRPG experience wherein the player is tasked to save the world in 30 seconds. In that time you'll fight monsters, level up, get new equipment, perform sidequests, and ultimately take out a boss. This is all made possible by the Time Goddess, a deity to whom players will lavish with exorbitant amounts of cash to turn back the clock. So fear not, the game is actually longer than thirty seconds. In fact, it's comprised of several dozen diminutive missions stretched across five campaigns that should keep players busy for twenty or more hours. Unlike its forerunner, The Second Coming doesn't dabble with shoot-'em-up, RTS, or tower defense elements. What it lacks in variety, though, is made up for with a lot of polish and incremental improvements. We're left with a more focused experience, albeit one that's still probably best enjoyed in short spurts, rather than any marathon sessions.  [embed]272939:53376:0[/embed] The new overworld really adds to the adventure. In contrast with the first game, players can now explore the landscape, grind, and acquire new equipment between missions without having to worry about a ticking clock. Combat has also been refined with powerful special attacks and a class system. The Second Coming also lays on a thicker story. While the narrative is generally lighthearted, it runs the gamut of stereotypical yarns, and does delve into some pretty melodramatic territory. In doing so, these threads curiously undermine some of the satire. And the sheer volume of dialogue and exposition means much of the humor is lost along the way. Still, it had me laughing quite hard at times. It's a more well-rounded, full-bodied, and cohesive experience, but it's also one that seems to embrace the genre's conventions more so than poke fun at them. As such, it loses some of the edgy appeal that made the original so beloved. While I personally enjoyed the departure, I could easily see others being less enthusiastic about the more traditionalist proclivities. That said, the story mode occasionally gets fairly creative with its missions. Certain obstacles and objectives glean little flashes of brilliance amidst the more garden-variety levels. Little accents like a motorcycle race against your rival or having to buy air from mermen to replenish your timer in underwater levels really help mix things up. It's also really pretty. I can't believe I just typed that. But seriously, the chunky pixelated visuals look amazing. They're more vibrant and detailed than ever before. And the hideous hand-drawn art style seen in the original game's XBLA and PC releases is nowhere to be found.  Beyond the campaign, The Second Coming features endless and time attack modes. There's also a map creator, which allows players to design unique quests to play through, share via Steamworks, and compete in over multiplayer. The online functions seem to be well executed, but their true strength will depend on the fervor of the community. Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming makes a number of improvements on an established formula. It's endearing, provocative, and silly. But it lacks variety and never quite recaptures the magic of its predecessor. No longer a breath a fresh air, The Second Coming settles for being an enjoyable lark. And I'm perfectly okay with that.
Half-Minute Hero 2 photo
Once more, with feeling
The original Half-Minute Hero was a very special and intriguing game. It boiled down an entire genre to its barest essentials, reducing the interminably long JRPG to just thirty seconds of gameplay. Both a heartfelt tribute a...

Half-Minute Hero photo
Half-Minute Hero

Half-Minute Hero sequel apparently hitting Steam April 4


Marvelous AQL announces $999 price tag, Oculus Rift support*
Apr 01
// Kyle MacGregor
Much like life itself, April Fools' Day is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. Sometimes your candy is brimming with caramel. Other times, spiders are lurking in the nougat, just waiting to bit...

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