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Astebreed photo
Astebreed

Doujin shmup Astebreed hits PS4 on June 25


Courtesy of Playism
Jun 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Astebreed is finally warping to PlayStation 4 on June 25, Playism announced today. The shoot-'em-up comes from doujin studio Edelweiss and was actually among my favorite games released last year when it debuted on PC. In addi...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin fighter Yatagarasu finally arrives July 7


At long last!
Jun 08
// Kyle MacGregor
It's taken two years, but the wait is nearly over. Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm, the new fighting game from a small team of former King of Fighters developers, is hitting Steam July 7 for $14.99. Originally planned for a Fe...
Pigeon dating sim 2 photo
Pigeon dating sim 2

Get flirty with Hatoful Boyfriend's sequel this fall


Sexy birds return in Holiday Star
Jun 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Everybirdy's favorite avian dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend is back with a sequel, Holiday Star. Originally released in 2011, the visual novel is now being remastered by Mediatonic and Devolver Digital for PlayStation 4, PC, and...

Review: Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser

Jun 02 // Kyle MacGregor
Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser (PC)Developer: Astro PortPublisher: Nyu MediaReleased: June 4, 2015MSRP: $4.99 The story centers on Takuya Akatsuki, captain of the eponymous Vulkaiser, and his trusty team of VulFighter comrades, who together must defend the planet from an armada of alien invaders. Akatsuki's buds can join him in battle one at a time, fusing their ships with his own. Each augment the Vulkaiser with a wide swathe of munitions ranging from a cannonade of heavy missile fire and a gun that harnesses the power of lightning to a needle blaster and a massive drill. Diffused between the levels are a series of vignettes where the VulFighters that just accompanied the protagonist will have something to say. While it's never explicitly stated, the game encourages players to stick with one squadmate throughout the experience, as the longer they accompany our hero in battle, the more of their personal storylines we see. It's a small lure, but those willing to humor it will discover an added wrinkle to the challenge. Even if you manage to clear the game on its hardest difficulty setting, sticking with a single VulFighter throughout the campaign's duration certainly ups the ante. In addition to particular allies being more useful in certain situations more so than others, they're also limited by their shields. Much like the Vulkaiser itself, the VulFighters only recharge a small amount of health between one battle and the next. Once a ship is gone, it's gone! And there aren't any continues either, so you need to be mindful about weaving through every barrage avoid an untimely and disappointing end. That's how Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser hooked me. Having initially played through the game and thought it enjoyable, if a tad prosaic outside of its charming '70s anime veneer, I began playing the game within the game. I decided to see if I would see new dialogue if kept using the same VulFighter. I soon discovered, yes, that's the case -- though this came with the realization that it might be difficult to keep them alive long enough to see all of it. And challenging it was. Going back to the lede, the moment Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser got under my skin was at its climax. I had nearly completed the entire game with my pal Kimiko in tow, only to see her VulFighter crash and burn mere moments before felling the final boss. I felt crestfallen, despondent, but more than anything imbued with a sense of purpose, an intense desire to forge ahead on this self-imposed quest. I found it remarkable how such a seemingly unexceptional experience could rise to be so much more than the sum of its parts. I can't guarantee Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser will blow you away, but I'm having a blast with it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Doujin shmup review photo
On target
Amidst a wash of old school mecha anime and Tokusatsu-tinted nostalgia, there was a moment in this otherwise homespun shooter that left me surprised and curiously enamored. Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser doesn't come from a gen...

Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser invades Steam next week


Let's go, giant robot of steel!
May 28
// Kyle MacGregor
A blast of '70s-inspired action is bombarding Steam next week in Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser. Announced for a western release nearly two years ago, the mecha shooter from doujin studio Astro Port (Gigantic Army) is fina...

Review: Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character

May 08 // Chris Carter
Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character (PC)Developer: Team Shanghai AlicePublisher: Team Shanghai Alice (JP) / Playism (US)Released: August 12, 2013 (JP) / May 7, 2015 (US)MSRP: $14.99 There's no Texas two-steppin' around it -- the "Western" release is not a good port. There's very little effort put forth at all, mostly due to the fact that it's relatively untouched from the Japanese version, and it's not translated -- at all. Double Dealing Character's menus were already in English, but extra details and bits of the story are all in Japanese, so you'll have to manually update it with an outside fan patch. When Playism announced that it was "bringing Touhou to the West," I assumed it would be a little more than "we made it slightly easier to buy the original Japanese game." Whether this is Playism's doing or Team Shanghai Alice's request, the result is the same.   The actual game, thankfully, is very good, and I must stress though that with the English menus, it is entirely playable. If you haven't experienced a danmaku (also known as bullet hell or curtain fire) game before, the concept is pretty easy to grasp. Tons of bullets will litter the screen at all times (like a curtain), and it's your job to maneuver around various patterns while firing back at your opponents. As is the case with most Touhou games, Double Dealing Character features a standard shot button in addition to one for specials, and a "slow" ability, which I'll explain in a moment. Where the Touhou team excels is in the presentation of it all. The bullet patterns are varied and constantly keep you on your toes, but they're also coupled with a charming art style and catchy music. Double Dealing Character is no exception. It would be fun to read the various story bits that pop up during boss fights and between levels, but again, you'll need a fan patch for that. Not being able to understand it all doesn't fundamentally ruin the game, but Touhou fans are big on their lore for a reason -- it gives context to the proceedings, and elevates the experience significantly. [embed]291754:58465:0[/embed] You'll have access to three characters, all of which have two different variations in tow. Each "ship" (in this case, a magical girl) has a different rate of fire or type of shot, such as a straight bullet or a spread. Specials add even more variety, like one character who uses a giant broom melee attack, or another who fires a deadly void bomb that slowly creeps up the screen. This is where the lack of a translation comes into play again -- you'll have to experiment with each variant since you can't read what they do on the select screen. Now, about that "slow" function I mentioned earlier -- it's another Touhou staple that spices things up a bit. At any time you can hold a button to make your character's flight more precise, which not only shows your hitbox (a blinking light that displays where bullets can damage you), but changes up your shot type as well. Personally, I always map it to the left trigger, so I can comfortably switch in and out of it at will, and it works like a charm. Thankfully there is plug and play controller support, and it's easy to customize your buttons. Like most shoot-'em-ups, Double Dealing Character will last you roughly an hour your first time around, with six stages and an additional EX level. There's also a few extras like a practice mode, music player, and some secrets that you'll definitely need a guide or translation for. Playism may have made it easier to buy into Touhou, but the actual result isn't anything better than just purchasing the game anywhere else. It you're a shoot-'em-up fan and haven't touched the franchise yet, you owe it to yourself to play at least one game in the series -- so why not start here? [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Touhou review photo
Bad port, great shooter
As I've said in the past, I consider myself lucky when it comes to meeting fellow gamers over the years that have had a positive impact on my life. I was fortunate enough to discover the Touhou series back in 2002 at the...

Touhou photo
Touhou

Japan's most popular indie series arrives in the West


Touhou 14 out now on Playism
May 07
// Kyle MacGregor
The Japanese indie sensation Touhou has been around for nearly two decades. Since debuting in 1996, the series has transformed from a collection of obscure shoot-'em-ups into a cultural phenomenon, spawning a myriad of deriva...
Touhou photo
Touhou

More Touhou is coming to PlayStation 4


Croixleur studio announces STG port
May 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Touhou seems to be everywhere these days. The series is making its western debut tomorrow. A demo for the next mainline entry isn't too far behind. And even some of the fan-made games are on their way to PlayStation 4. The cu...
Touhou 14 photo
Touhou 14

Touhou makes its western debut on May 7


Prolific doujin series finally crosses the Pacific
May 02
// Kyle MacGregor
When it comes to Japanese indie games, there's Touhou and then there's everything else. Over the course of two decades, the property has transformed from an series of obscure bullet hell shooters into a cultural phenomenon. H...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Playism is localizing doujin games for PS4, Vita


Astebreed, Croixleur Sigma, and more coming west in 2015
Apr 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Good news for fans of Japanese indie games: Playism is bringing its wares to consoles.  We've known this was happening for a while, but now it's official. The company has announced plans to localize a number of Japanese ...
Touhou localization photo
Touhou localization

Doujin shooter Touhou 14 targets western release


And Playism aims for our hearts
Apr 07
// Jordan Devore
Japanese indie games distributor Playism scored the rights to one of the Touhou titles last year, putting us one step closer to a possible English-language adaptation of the popular doujin series. That was the speculation, an...
La-Mulana EX photo
La-Mulana EX

La-Mulana EX is nirvana for punishing game enthusiasts


Alternatively, 'Spelunking for Masochists'
Apr 04
// Jason Faulkner
There's a certain thrill to a game that punishes you for attempting to best it, as Bloodborne and Souls series fans can attest to. That's why there happen to be so many of them cropping up here and there, especially over the ...
TyranoBuilder photo
TyranoBuilder

Make your own visual novels with this simple tool


TyranoBuilder coming to Steam this week
Mar 23
// Kyle MacGregor
TyranoBuilder is on its way to Steam this Friday, March 27, Nyu Media has announced. The new program is advertised as "the easiest, fasted way to create multi-platform visual novels," allowing users to create games for compu...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin Deals: Check out this Japanese indie bundle


販売
Feb 27
// Kyle MacGregor
This latest Humble Weekly Bundle is chock-full of awesome Japanese independent games. The new pay what you want promotion includes adventure game Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, its visual novel companion Cherry ...
PIGEON LOVE PILLOW photo
PIGEON LOVE PILLOW

Hug a pigeon with this Hatoful Boyfriend body pillow


What is life?
Feb 12
// Kyle MacGregor
You can buy a Hatoful Boyfriend dakimakura cover over at Humble Bundle right now. Yes, really. It's all part of a Valentine's Day promotion, which features the pigeon dating sim plus a smattering of other visual novels, incl...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin fighter Dynamite Bomb launches next week


Arrives on Playism next Tuesday, February 17
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Dynamite Bomb is coming to Playism's western storefront next Tuesday, February 17.   The fighting game, developed by doujin circle Light Green 8, is a combo-heavy experience where standard attacks don...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Yatagarasu AoC hits Japanese arcades this week


The PC version will come out whenever it comes out
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm launches in Japanese arcades Thursday, Taito has announced. Meanwhile, the doujin fighting game's long-awaited PC release still remains a work in progress. "The timing of the NESiCAxLive release...
Croixleur Sigma photo
Croixleur Sigma

Croixleur Sigma PS4 dated in Japan, here are some details


Next month for 1,500 yen
Feb 05
// Chris Carter
Croixleur Sigma is coming to PS4 on March 5 for 1,500 yen, and based on the details we have so far, I hope it gets localized. The expansion/update of sorts will have a full visual HD upgrade, as well as more characters, mons...
Touhou x PlayStation photo
Touhou x PlayStation

Touhou games may come to PlayStation this year


But probably not the games you want
Jan 27
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Touhou Project. The hyper-popular series of bullet-hell shooters has long been a Holy Grail of sorts for non-PC-owning otaku, and the efforts to get games with the Touhou brand on various consoles have been mighty indeed...
Japanese indie games! photo
Astebreed developer spotlights this season's Japanese indies
Comiket, the largest independent media festival on the planet, is winding down its winter festivities. Over the past three days, hundreds of thousands of folks have flocked to the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center to acquire...

Nekopara photo
Nekopara

Catgirl visual novel Nekopara out today on Steam


Meow meow
Dec 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Nekopara Vol. 1 tells the tale of Kashou Minaduki, a young baker descended from a long line of Japanese confection makers who sets out on his own to open a patisserie. Of course, a couple of catgirls show up, as catgirls are wont to do, and hijinks ensue. Naturally. The visual novel is slated to debut on Steam today with a $10 asking price. Nekopara Vol. 1 [Steam]
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin SRPG Rime Berta lands on Steam tomorrow


Puppets to the rescue!
Dec 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Rime Berta is coming to Steam tomorrow -- just in time for Hanukkah. The strategy role-playing game, developed by doujin studio Next-Soft Plus, draws inspiration from Final Fantasy Tactics, sporting terraced la...
Hatoful Boyfriend PS4 photo
Hatoful Boyfriend PS4

Hatoful Boyfriend soars to PS4 and Vita in early 2015


All you need is dove
Nov 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Pigeon dating simulator Hatoful Boyfriend is flapping on over to PS4 and Vita early next year, Sony and indie publisher Devolver Digital announced today. "All y'all PlayStation nerds need to stop waiting for The Last Guardia...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Fighter Under Night In-Birth gets a due date for PS3


'Get In-Birthed!'
Nov 13
// Kyle MacGregor
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late is coming to PlayStation 3 in North America on February 24, 2015, localization house Aksys Games announced today. The 2D fighting game was developed by Japanese independent studio French Bread with netcode assistance from BlazBlue maker Arc System Works. The European release is being handled by NIS America, who are also targeting a 2015 launch.
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! is a doujin visual novel


I? My? What?
Nov 13
// Kyle MacGregor
  Cherry Tree High I! My! Girls! isn't just the best string of words ever, it's also a visual novel from doujin circle 773, makers of the "slice-of-life adventure game" Cherry Tree High Comedy Club. It's coming to Steam ...
Doujin Games photo
Doujin Games

Fairy Bloom Ultra Encore now available on PC


Exterminate a horde of bugs in this doujin beat-'em-up
Oct 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Fairy Bloom Ultra Encore is out now for Windows PC, Playism has announced. The action game has a jaunty premise, following a fairy tasked with defending a flower from a swarm of aphids. Yes, really. You'll need to pulverize ...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Doujin JRPG Sacred Tears True out now on Steam


Nyu Media's biggest release yet
Sep 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Sacred Tears True is now available for Windows PC via Steam, Nyu Media announced today. The indie role-playing game follows a pair of private investigators who moonlight as thieves, you know, because they are woolgathering th...
Croixleur PS4 photo
Croixleur PS4

Doujin brawler Croixleur Sigma coming to PS4


Devil May Cute returns! Again!
Sep 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Croixleur Sigma is coming to PlayStation 4, Playism announced this week at Tokyo Game Show.  "We're hoping we can get a western release out as soon as possible," Playism marketing manager and localization editor Nay...
Japanese indie games! photo
Japanese indie games!

Revolver 360 RE:ACTOR shoots up PC tomorrow


Doujin shooter set to arrive on Playism's English storefront
Sep 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Revolver 360 RE:ACTOR launches its attack on PC tomorrow for $9.99, Playism announced today. The shoot-'em-up comes by way of doujin studio Cross Eaglet, and is most notable for its eponymous swivel mechanic. The t...
Fighting Games photo
Fighting Games

Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm delayed until fall


Alpha invites go out to qualifying backers today
Aug 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Yatagarasu Attack on Cataclysm is no longer targeting a summer launch, publisher Nyu Media revealed today. The crowdfunded fighting game now aims to launch sometime this autumn. The word came along with an announcement regar...

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