Thanks to the folks at Galdra Studios for allowing me to review their debut visual novel, Arcadia Fallen. As a first release from an indie game publisher, Arcadia Fallen definitely exceeded my expectations in many ways. First of all, the game’s high production values from voice acting, to character portraits, and even a catchy anime opening song and animation, all pull you right into the game. From there, the characters and story and unraveling the mysteries of the game keep you glued to your gaming chair. For those that find routine visual novel gameplay a bit dull, you might like the puzzle aspects in Arcadia Fallen because it has a nice crafting and alchemy feature.
I’ve spent several hours and am on my third life in the new “child raising” sim game, Growing Up, available now via Steam. This game reminds me a great deal of Chinese Parents. Both games use a “brain map” type of setup to unlock skills. Both continue on forever as each life ends and a new life begins. Both have you balance your mental health and parent’s satisfaction. Both games involve dating and friendships and schoolwork and exams. Yes both games are incredibly similar. It’s hard to believe that they are different games or by different developers… but you know, Great minds think alike!
I did back a third game yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to post about it yet. If you haven’t already checked out the other two posts yesterday for Ova Magica and Coral Island you can click their names to read them now.
Beacon Pines is entirely different from the above “farming games”. Instead, Beacon Pines bills itself as a “Cute and Creepy” Adventure game where “Words You Fine Can Change The Course Of Fate”. It’s also featuring cute anamorphic or furrie characters.
I would best describe “Tell Me Why” as an LGBT+ visual novel puzzle solving adventure game. The gameplay is similar to Tell Tale’s Walking Dead, or D4 Dark Dreams Don’t Die, or Quantic Dreams’ Detroit Become Human, and of course DONTNOD’s other adventure games such as Life is Strange. All of which I love. So It comes as no surprise that I would then also love Tell Me Why.
So let me tell you why (pun intended lol).
Although it is a game about transgendered youth and homosexuality, and I am a straight born this way female, I have always accepted gay rights and had no issues with that being the focus of the game. Most my family has always been against gays but even from a young age I would try to argue that they should be allowed to love who they love.
Title: Mr Love Queen’s Choice
Platform: IOS and Android
Release Date: I think I must have used Qoo App, because I am already playing the game, and it says Pre-register on the play store. Or maybe I got into beta? I am not sure, anyways, yes I am playing the game currently. You can check Qoo App, which is probably how I got it. And yes I’m playing it in English.
Overall: 65/80 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”
Geeky: 3/5 – Basically just a card collecting game, but with a twist, you manage a TV studio and produce various korean tv shows and commercials. The cards have different skills such as if they’re good at drama or news or gourmet cooking shows, as well as stats for things such as affinity, decision, creativity, and other skills that you would expect an idol to need to have to be successful. Some cards are more rare than others. You can also level the cards up. But nothing too complex here, definitely a casual game.
Sweetie: 5/5 – there are otome aspects, sometimes the guys will call you, and it is partially voiced in English. The artwork is beautiful, the voice acting is pretty good, and the whole Kdrama Producer thing really speaks to anyone who loves simulation games.
Overview: 10/10 Mr Love Queen’s Choice lets you run a TV studio and recruit idols, as mentioned, with various specialties and stats. The main draw of the game is collecting idols, progressing through the story, and dating the idols. I think it is a unique concept, there’s a lot of idol producer games, but not too many that take a TV Studio theme.
Gameplay: 10/10 Gameplay is pretty simple, and if you’ve played Love Nikki you will be instantly familiar with the user interface as it seems to just be reskinned and given a new theme. No, this one is not a dressup game, but the way you progress through various levels, and the achievement system and basic interface are very similar. I give full marks to Gameplay because I’m really enjoying the simulation aspects of this game, casting idols based on their strengths as to who will perform best at various assignments. You also can experience otome game elements by choosing how to respond to various parts of the story. I am not sure how much consequence your choices carry – if any at all. But it is a nice touch.
Story: 10/10 – Actually for a mobile game, I’m really enjoying the story. First of all, yes I love korean dramas, and the thought of a game that lets you simulate your own Kdrama production studio, is a huge draw, but that’s not the only thing the story offers. You are daughter of a famous Producer who has passed away and left the studio to you, but it is struggling to stay afloat. As you struggle to step out of your Father’s shadow, and take the company to new heights, you also have recurring dreams about an accident that happened when you were a child. You narrowly escaped death and now your thoughts turn to trying to remember the face of the man who saved you all those years ago. As you’re occupied in your thoughts one day, you find yourself again in a similar situation and rescued by a mysterious man. Could it be the same man from your past? And why do these men keep appearing around you? One such man tells you that you are an Evolver, and that you do not know it yet, but you will soon awaken to your true powers. Leaving you (both as the character and the person playing the game) completely confused as to what he meant. Strange things also begin happening around town – could this be related to your supposed powers? The story offers a lot of mystery, intrigue, romance, and suspense. I have not fast forwarded or skipped a single screen.
Characters: 5/10 – I’m giving 5 out of 10 here. I do like the characters, and I appreciate they have a strong tie to the story, but there just aren’t enough characters to collect for an idol simulation game. I hope they continue to add new characters in the future!
Music: 5/10 – Kinda average, I don’t have strong feelings either way. I usually play mobile games on silent while other people are watching movies or something else anyways.
Voice Acting: 7/10 – I do like that they have voice acting in the game. It is in English, and some of the actors are really good… But some of them are not as good… I’d say overall though the acting is better than expected for a mobile game.
Graphics: 10/10 – I love the artwork of this game.
Overall: 65/80 81% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”
Title: Helix Waltz
Genre: Dressup Otome Game
Platform: IOS and Android
Price: Free with optional in-game purchases
Where to Get: https://waltz.ubeejoy.com/
Overview: 10/10 Helix Waltz is very similar to Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary with a few differences. It has a slightly more detailed / less “cutesy” artstyle, and more focus on story. In fact, before getting the meat of the game, you must go through a very lengthy tutorial, that for a mobile/casual gamer will probably take more than a few days to complete. In this tutorial you learn a lot about the story and setting of Helix Waltz. This is where we see the majority of the differences that set Helix Waltz apart from other similar Dressup Games.
Story: 10/10 Helix Waltz puts you in role of a young orphan adopted by a (former) noble lady, and being groomed for a life of royalty. A strange visitor also enlists your help as a spy amongst the noble court. Your job is to chat with other nobles, gather intel as a spy, and impress them with your fashion to work your way back as a noble family. There is definitely more backstory than found in most dressup games, and that story is tied to the gameplay too.
Gameplay: 9/10 Like Love Nikki Dressup Queen and Romance Diary, you compete in Fashion Battles with NPCs to advance through various story stages. You collect various items which you layer and equip together to create unique looks. Each level requires certain styles or colors of clothing to get the best score possible. Such as equipping a dress, or tops and bottoms, along with shoes, stockings, jewelry, necklaces, rings, bracelets, hairstyles, makeup, and so on.
Unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary, the majority of the game is focused on navigating through the story and playing against NPCs. Until you reach at least level 19 when you finally complete the lengthy tutorial. Playing 2-3 hours a day, it will still take a few days to complete all of the tutorial missions to get to the free play mode. I have yet to complete the tutorial so I’m not sure if Helix Waltz allows you to compete against other human players as well.
Also unlike Love Nikki Dressup Queen, but similar to Romance Diary, Helix Waltz focuses more on Otome aspects, but not so much on romance. Instead it has a very interesting story of intrigue and deceit. At the waltzes, you can search for specific NPCs or you can wander about and bump into random NPCs, you can select various things to chat about and choose your responses which will affect the NPC’s moods and overall opinion of you. You can also challenge the NPCs to a fashion battle, or you can eavesdrop on NPCs to gain valuable intel.
I enjoyed the unique approach in both story and gameplay to focus more on infiltrating the noble court and gathering intel. I didn’t enjoy the linear nature of the game in the early levels and lengthy tutorial.
Artwork: 4/5 – The artwork is very detailed, but to me it isn’t as cute as similar games like Love Nikki Dressup Queen or Romance Diary. This may just be down to personal tastes. I’m sure some of my readers prefer the art style of Helix Waltz over the other games as well.
Music: 4/5 – The classical music fits the game’s theme very well. You also have the option to change the music later in the game.
Geeky: 2/5 – Although the aspects of infiltration and espionage add a new exciting twist to the traditional gameplay and story mechanics of most dressup games, this game is still for casual female gamers and not likely to appeal to a wider audience.
Sweetie: 4/5 – Helix Waltz loses a point for slightly less appealing artwork (compared to similar dressup games). Otherwise, those who enjoy dressup games, and a good story, with strong female lead, are sure to enjoy Helix Waltz.
Overall Score: 43/50 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”
With the 2018 Winter Olympics well under way, I’ve been thinking a lot about games and anime (such as Yuri on Ice which I reviewed here) that showcases the dedication that a skater must possess. I remembered fondly an NDS game from “a few” years ago that I played that allowed you to take on the life of a professional skater, competing in various events, training, dating, and dealing with drama.
This game, as it turns out, was Imagine: Figure Skater for the Nintendo DS. The game first came out in 2008 (at least in North America), making it “retro” by my definition (I consider anything greater than 10 years old to be retro.) I’m thinking about digging out my cartridge and playing it again this weekend. I’ve also been thinking about rewatching Yuri!! on Ice.
First, you might look at the box art for this game, and think it is for little girls. — Not true! The original boxart in Japan was much better – featuring anime style artwork. Why they went with a photograph of an iceskater on the US version, I dunno. They should have aimed it at anime/otome fans, but this was 10 years ago, before otome games had much foothold in the US.
Gamestop has the game in-stock for just $0.99 cents! – If you have a powerups reward card, Even better, you can grab it for just $0.79 cents!!! OMG… Go, go, go!! If you like anime, ice skating, dating sims, or otome games, it will be the best 99 (or 79) cents you could spend today. Click here to buy it before it’s gone.
There’s also apparently a sequel to this game, called Imagine: Ice Champions. I have not played the sequel yet, but Gamestop has it for just $1.59.
If I had to pick a few favorites it’d be Detroit Become Human, Kingdom Hearts 3, Shenmue 3, Stein’s Gate Elite, Atelier Lydie & Suelle, Yakuza 6, Your Four Knights Princess Training Story, Shining Resonance Refrain, A Way Out, FF7, and Ni No Kuni 2.
This is not a full release list for the PS4 in 2018, but instead a collection of games I thought would appeal to other gamers such as myself based either on story, anime graphics, cuteness, or gameplay mechanics.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what games you’re looking forward to on PS4 this year!
40+ PS4 Games for Girls Releasing in 2018
A virtual reality game that features a mouse who knows sign language. The environment is beautiful and the characters are adorable.
2.) Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom
Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch is one of my favorite PS3 games. So it’s no surprise that I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel from Studio Ghibli and Level 5 on the PS4 in 2018.
3.) Red Dead Redemption 2
It’s not often that I enjoy a shooting game; however, I am quite fond of the original back on the 360. I enjoy the open world environment, myriad of quests, and choice and consequence system. The horseback riding was also fun.
4.) Detroit: Become Human
I think above any other title on my list, I’m most excited about this PS4 Exclusive from the makers of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. It’s a story driven game where the player must make choices at various points which will fork the story down different branches resulting in different endings.
5.) Shenmue 3
Shenmue 3 broke records when it debuted on kickstarter 2 years ago. Finally the wait is over as the title will launch in mid 2018. In case you missed the first two games, rumors abound about an HD remaster that will include both Shenmue 1 and 2 also arriving on PS4 in 2018.
6.) Knights and Bikes
This quirky cute co-op game aims to recapture the feelings of childhood innocence and fun. You can explore a colorful island, fight baddies with water balloons or race your friends on your bicycles.
7.) Bloodstained Ritual of the Night
This is basically a Castlevania game, except since Kojima left Konami, he’s not allowed to use the name Castlevania anymore. I’m also digging the anime style characters as opposed to the more photo realistic characters the series has been using recently.
8.) Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The wait is almost over for the Final Fantasy Remake with new stories, new visuals, and new combat systems. This is more than just an “HD Port” this is a reworking of the game from scratch, using the same characters, world, and story, but improving upon it in many ways.
9.) The Last Of Us Part 2
But largely, console gaming was the highlight of my childhood. That’s where all the anime games or JRPGs or story rich games were, especially in the 16 and 32 bit eras, which still remain my favorite gaming period of all time. Genesis, Sega CD, SNES, Saturn, PS1, PS2, and Dreamcast, the majority of my favorite games, still to this day, lived on one of those great consoles.
But nowadays, I barely play console games anymore. Occasionally there may be an exclusive that catches my eye, such as Persona 5 on PS4, or Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the Wii U. I even bought a Wii U just for that game in fact.
But now, so many games are cross platform, and so many people like me, who grew up in the 16 and 32 bit eras are making their own indie games now such as To the Moon, Always Sometimes Monsters, Rakuten, Undertale, etc. This completely changes the gaming landscape. Now PC is by and far my preferred gaming “platform” of choice.
And where once, JRPGs reigned on Consoles, they now thrive on the PC or even on mobile devices, and in the past 5 years we’ve seen a huge explosion of visual novels and Otome games as well on both PC and mobile – and barely any of those have been released (at least in English) on consoles.
Where once the PC had almost no games that appealed to my tastes, now suddenly, more and more each year, I find the PC to offer so many games I want to play that I don’t have the time, nor money, to possibly play them all! I have over 700 steam games already (and a handful on Origin, and about 50 more on GOG, and then of course my old CDs from the 90s which have yet to get released digitally.) And that’s not taking into account the PC’s ability to emulate the console games I own (probably around 300+ games there too). And emulation is perfectly legal as long as you own the original games, which I still do.
This puts the number of games I can play on my PC right now today, without buying a single thing, at well over 1,000 games! — How many of those games I’ve actually played, is probably around 25%, and how many I’ve beaten to completion / all endings etc, is probably like 5%. lol. But the point is, there has never been a better time to play girl games on your PC. If you’re a girl, there’s plenty of games that you should check out on PC. This wasn’t the case 20 years ago; my how the landscape has changed!
Here is a list of games due out in 2018 that are on my radar! I’ve selected these games for one of the following reasons: Decisions Matter, Branching Plot, Multiple Endings, Cute/Kawaii Graphics, Excellent Story, Innovating (or at least really fun) Gameplay, and Customization. If you look for the same qualities in your games, check out the list below. Warning, it’s long.
This list is not in any order – largely it’s sorted by release date, because that’s how I was browsing the games while researching this post.
Our first recommendation reminds me of Horizons New Dawn, one of my all time favorite super nintendo games.
This visual Novel Has Some Beautiful Graphics
Til the Dawn, Waiting
This looks sad, and also features animals, a powerful combination to tug at any heart strings
Franky the Bumwalker
Super cute and colorful adventure game that probably doesn’t take itself too seriously.
This indie RPG features an extesnive crafting system and city building aspects as well as cute retro graphics.
Stunt Corgi VR
If you’re lucky enough to have a VR headset you might like this title that lets you create obstacle courses and watch a cute corgi try to navigate the courses you create.
If you like rhythm games, you might like this one with cute anime artwork. Plus it’s free to play.
The Mind Hero
An anime visual novel where you help 8 different characters overcome their trauma. It aims to teach psychology inside a video game. It’s also free and features a comic book style.
This looks to be a very emotionally engaging and beautiful pixel retro style RPG. The developers have said that the game uses real-life world war 2 letters that were written by soldiers to their families.
The ability to customize everything about your mechs and the appeal of mecha genres from decades of anime such as macross, robotech, go lion, voltron, evangelion, gundamn, etc, make this appeal to me, despite the more dark realistic graphics. The gameplay looks fantastic. And who doesn’t love giant robots?
In The Valley of Gods
Explore pyramids in this narrative adventure.
This game aims to balance the skills and economy of its players so that they are forced to work together. Sounds promising. Let’s see how that works once the game releases.
This just looks so utterly adorable!
With a name like Boyfriend Dungeon, how could this not make our list? It’s an otome dating sim and hack n slash RPG adventure, where the boys are weapons.
The Iron Oath
I am beyond excited for this game! True, it doesn’t have the visual aesthetic that I like, but nearly everything about the gameplay appeals to me greatly! Decisions matter, the guild management sounds fun, every character has a back story. Characters die / perma death, you recruit new characters, I’m ready to play this awesome looking tactical RPG.
Living the Deal
Business Management and Life Simulation Game. This one is high on my wishlist (despite how hideously ugly the characters look lol).
Play as cute wolves chasing cute sheep in a game which promises unlockable content and character customization.
Freedom Planet 2
Furrie fans and fans of old school Sonic games still love the original Freedom Planet, and soon the wait is over for the much anticipated sequel.
The Forgettable Dungeon
Co-op Action RPG that you can play with up to 15 friends.
Next Up Hero
Title: Curious Expedition
Genre: Adventure Game, Rogue Like
Platform: PC, playable over Steam and also right in your web browser, stand-alone DRM free client coming soon
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Retail Price: $14.99
Where to Buy: Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/358130/The_Curious_Expedition/ or Direct from the official website at http://curious-expedition.com/
Overall: 58 / 80 73% C “Good Game for Girls”
Overview: 8/10 Curious Expedition is a rogue-like adventure game with retro style pixel graphics. It puts you in the role of one of several famous explorers from history and lets you compete for fame and fortune. If you become the most famous explorer, you win, and are honored with a large statue in your likeness.
That is, if you can survive long enough to even return home from your expedition. The game uses some interesting mechanics such as a sanity meter, which when it gets low, bad things begin to happen. Mutiny breaks out among your crew, or random disasters begin to befall the group.
You can restore sanity by eating, drinking, or sleeping. There are also certain units you can recruit, or perks you can receive that increase your max sanity, making it a bit easier to explore without going insane.
There are other resources for you to manage as well, such as fresh water, ammo, first aid kits, torches to explore dungeons, ropes and climbing kits, and numerous other tools to help you discover treasure.
While out exploring you will sometimes enter into battle using various dice (amount of dice and colors of dice are determined by which party members you have with you at the time.)
You can always select from 2 different expedition routes, and are presented with a randomly generated objective to complete while on expedition. You can choose to return home after completing your objective, or continue to search for treasure to bring back.
Your movement speed is greatly reduced when your inventory is over burdened. This will make it even more challenging to manage your sanity and other resources. Terrain obstacles such as sand, snow, ice, mountains, and forests will also slow down your expedition and require careful resource management.
Perhaps the most unforgiving element is if you die, you get one chance to load your auto save, and then that’s it, you’ll have to start a new game. And you will die often. 6 expeditions may not sound like much, but I have yet to make it past the 5th.
The overall experience of the game left me both addicted, and annoyed. I have yet to successfully complete a full series of expeditions. But yet, I played all night, and can’t wait to get home to go on new expeditions.
Pros: Strangely addicting Gameplay paired with retro pixel graphics. D&D style dice-rolls and turn based combat system. Fairly large maps (I typically have to return home without fully exploring the maps). Rogue like elements make it great for multiple replays (but admittedly need some tweaks).
Cons: Normal mode is very challenging… like seriously challenging (There is an easy mode (which I have not tried) and an even more difficult mode as well though so this is not really a bad thing). My chief complaint of Curious Expedition is that there’s not enough choices in places to explore. Maps all feel very same-ish. Scenarios seem to repeat, and even when you get a new scenario, there’s nothing terribly unique about the quest to make it memorable or exciting. Need more maps, more variety in quests, more variety in classes, npcs, treasure, random events, etc. My other chief complaint is there’s no multiplayer mode. This seems like a great game for some multiplayer fun as it does show you how much fame/fortune your competitors are earning. It could even make a great persistent online game with credit going to players for being the first to discover new regions, items, animals, native people, etc. So much potential here for interesting multiplayer options, but instead, your competitors are always controlled by the computer. And lastly, my last complaint is that there’s no Steam Achievements. A game like this would be PERFECT for steam achievements. There are steam trading cards, but no achievements which seems once again like a missed opportunity to add some fun gameplay elements.
Geeky: 5/5 – The retro vibe and random rogue like elements, as well as references from D&D and other old school games make this a blast for all geeks who grew up with fond memories of the 80s/90s.
Sweetie: 3/5 – Although it is very text heavy, a lot of the text repeats and is not very interesting on subsequent playthroughs. However, there are some notable female playable characters that represent real women throughout history, which is just awesome. This game highlights women who did extraordinary things and emphasizes their brains over beauty, making this a great game for young girls.
Gameplay: 7/10 – When the game begins, you select which explorer you want to play as. Some will be locked and can be unlocked through game play to be used on subsequent playthroughs. You will be given a few supplies and some animal and human companions.
You’ll then be shown a map of the world. It will have many expedition points, but only ever 2 at a time will be selectable as your competition will be exploring the other parts of the world. Select one of the two routes and you’ll be offered a quest. You can either accept or reject the quest. I assume if you reject it, you can just freely explore the expedition area without a quest in mind. Or maybe you’re presented other quest options before embarking on your voyage. I’m not really sure.
If you can successfully complete a quest objective you’ll get a large bonus to fame and/or fortune. But if you fail the quest after choosing to accept it, you’ll lose a great deal of fame or fortune as well.
Before leaving the docks, you’re given time to buy supplies, and sometimes you will find new crew members who wish to join your expedition. You can only take 5 members at any time, so if you find new members you wish to recruit, you will have to part ways with someone else first.
While out exploring you are shown a map with perhaps a few areas uncovered, but largely, hidden from your view. You click around the map to move and explore. Points of interest or interaction are designated by a white question mark symbol. As you approach, they will reveal themselves to be one of several different locale such as:
Native Villages: Here you can recruit members for your expedition, buy, sell, trade, rest to restore sanity, compile research, complete various quest objectives, and more. Your likelihood of success depends on the villagers feelings towards you. These are determined by how long you’ve stayed in the village, as well as decisions you make to story prompts both inside and outside of the village, as well as certain class roles of your crew, and any special status conditions possessed by your crew, and lastly, the amount of trading you’ve done with the village thus far.
Caves: If you have a torch, or a class member with “perception” skills (blue dice roll with white eye symbol), you can usually safely explore the caves. If you choose to loot treasure, you may anger the gods, villagers, or spring a trap, but it’s almost always worth the risk, as you can trade the treasure in for fame or fortune after you return home.
Stone Circles: You can use these monuments to reveal more of the map.
Temples and Pyramids: Similar to caves, mostly used as a place to loot treasure which usually has some negative consequences as mentioned above, but still is imperative in raising your fame and fortune which is how you ultimately win the game.
There are different types of maps / expedition areas such as:
Icelands, Jungles, Drylands, Deserts, Mountains, etc. I find the Jungles to be the easiest to traverse. Icelands can be conquered with Snowshoes and sled tickets. Drylands and Deserts requires you to carry more water.
While exploring your food and water rations deplete, and also your sanity begins to dwindle (rapidly). You must eat or sleep or drink to restore these meters. If you ignore them, you will suffer a lot of negative random scenarios, such as killing your crew, sometimes you’ll eat them though which will restore your sanity at least lol.
Encounters with various “monsters” (typically wild animals), happen when you enter an area designated by a red border, you can also see a circle icon representation of the beast in question as he also moves around the map. Should you draw attention, he will likely chase you, and be faster than you. Sometimes it’s better to face your opponents head on. If they sneak up on you, they get a free combat round before you can react.
Combat takes place using various dice rolls. Different items in your inventory, and different class roles of your party members, determines which dice you have available.
Each “turn” consists of 3 “rounds”. Each “round” allows you to either keep or re-roll dice. If you have a combination of dice that result in a combo move, they will shake on your screen. Mousing over a shaking die will show the other dice needed to activate the combo – they will shake too. If multiple combos or other dice had been shaking, their shaking will stop when you’re moused over a die from a combo they don’t belong to.
You can activate your combos each round.
For example, your first roll could reveal that you have 3 dice that activate a combo. You can click on those dice to “hold them” once all three have been held a dialog box will appear – click the box to activate the combo, then select reroll. Your next roll may have another 3 dice that activate a different combo, you can again play this combo in the same way, and roll again for your final round. Each time you hold dice, or activate a combo, however, will remove those used dice from your available dice pool, making it less likely to get good combo rolls as the rounds go on.
If you survive, you may be given items, or fame and fortune. If you should die, you will be taken back to the main menu where you can reload your game. Should you die again, when returning to the main menu you will notice there is no longer an option to continue and you must start a new game.
Also as you explore and fight your way to glory, you will be able to promote your party members to make them stronger. There are also numerous random events that may impact your party members’ skills, stats, and abilities.
Return home with your treasure. You can choose to donate to the museum for fame, sell for fortune, or hold onto various items. When you return home you’ll also be presented with any applicable quest rewards and allowed to select one “perk” from a handful of randomly generated ones. Some of these perks are really neat and significantly alter your gameplay, such as allowing you to do culture studies on native tribes, giving you additional dice rolls, permanent boost to max sanity, increased viewable map areas, or more benefits. After choosing your perks and preparing again for your next adventure you’ll again have an option of 2 expedition areas to explore and be shown a random quest.
Survive all six expeditions and have the highest fame to win the game.
Story: 5/10 – You write your own story. This game plays much like Oregon Trail, Horizons New Dawn, or Banner Saga, so if you’ve played any of those, you have an idea of what to expect here. Unlike Banner Saga, however, Curious Expedition is not very well written, nor engaging, simply because it is almost too random, and at the same time not random enough, so that when you hit subsequent playthroughs, it becomes a bit repetitive. I know the game is only just now at patch 1 point something, but after being out for 2 years now, that’s rather concerning too that there hasn’t been more big content updates. It needs more scenarios and random events, but even that can’t save the story because of the nature of the brief random encounters and quest. Lacking a central story, does not detract from how fun and enjoyable this game is, but for those looking for a solid story and great characters, look elsewhere.
Characters: 8/10 – There are a lot of randomly generated characters including various races, classes, genders, likes, dislikes, stat bonuses, ailments, and little quirks, that really make your party more interesting. There are a few, but not many, scenes that may endear some of these characters to you, but most of the time, they are of little consequence from a story standpoint. As mentioned earlier in the review, I am quite pleased to see the inclusion of many female and minority historical figures as playable characters. Curious Expedition is a great game with great rolemodels and unique characters inspired from historical events.
Graphics: 7/10: Pixel graphics are hot right now. I understand they’re not to everyone’s taste, but as an older gamer myself, I enjoy retro feeling games such as this. I did deduct a few points in this area though simply because of the “sameness” of all of the maps / areas / npcs / etc.
Sound: 6/10: The soundtrack is also extremely retro which gives it a fun 80s feeling with lots of nostalgia. But ultimately, the soundtrack is just not too memorable overall.
Replay Value: 9/10: Although it desperately needs some more variations, more options, and more items, npcs, places, and skills, the game does indeed present a fun randomly generated gameplay element that makes each playthrough unique. The challenge of the game also dictates the need for subsequent playthroughs.
Overall: 58 / 80 73% C “Good Game for Girls”
Other Games You May Like
Include Horizons New Dawn on SNES and Oregon Trail Classic or Banner Saga on the PC.
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Fault Milestone two side:above
Sound of Drop -fall into poison
Highway Blossoms (a Yuri game (girl x girl game))
Japanese School Life
Pay $12 to receive it all:
All of the Above PLUS…
NekoPara Vol 2
Wold End Economica – Complete Edition
Idol Magical Girl Chiru Chiru Michiru Part 2
Memory’s Dogma Code:01
Robot Double – Before Crime After Days Xtend Edition
Sunrider: Liberation Day – Captain’s Edition
That’s a whole lot of visual novels for not a big price! I only had 3 of these currently in my collection (and almost all of them wishlisted). I am super excited about this bundle and can’t wait to start playing.
Robot Double sounds incredibly interesting to me from the brief description. It states that unlike traditional Visual Novels, there are no clear cut choices, but instead you control the story purely through your emotions.
If you’re interested in grabbing this bundle for yourself, check out https://www.humblebundle.com/sekai-project-bundle.
As mentioned in another post here, I spent much of this past weekend playing Stardew Valley on the PC. Stardew Valley is a game that harkens back memories of popular retro games such as Harvest Moon and Rune Factory. The game is fun and relaxing… however, like most games in this genre, the gameplay can get tedious and repetitive at times. Stardew Valley also suffers significant development delays and setbacks, which is not surprising considering the entire game, from the graphics, to music, to programming, was all made by just one person. It doesn’t get anymore “indie” than that. Despite these few small flaws, the game is one of the highest rated Steam games of all time with nearly 50,000 Overwhelmingly Positives since its release in February 2016. If you’re still wondering if Stardew Valley is worth playing, read my Stardew Valley Review below.
Title: Stardew Valley
Platform: PC (also recently released for Xbox One, PS4, and soon to be released for Nintendo Switch)
Genre: Farming Simulation
Where to Buy: PC Version on Steam Here.
Release Date: February 2016
Geeky: 2/5 – This is a low budget indie game, so you won’t see triple A graphics here. And given the genre and nature of farming simulation games there isn’t much action going on. I also feel the controls and UI are clunky, to the point of detracting from the gameplay (read more about that later in this review). However, given that 1 man made everything in this game, that’s pretty impressive and worth an extra star at least for effort!
Sweetie: 4/5 – Everything about this game exudes charm and cuteness. However, the characters feel impersonal and the story a bit lacking, costing it to lose 1 heart for “sweetie” factor.
Overall: 60/80 75% D- “Average Game for Girls”
Concept: 8/10 It’s hard to believe this game has been out for less than a year; it’s so wildly popular and became an instant fan classic, that even games by fully staffed development teams have not made nearly as successful games or seen as many sales or positive reviews in years worth of time. And day by day new fans come to experience Stardew Valley for their very first time and fall in love, and continue to share their experiences. I was somewhat late to join the party, starting back in maybe July of 2016.
At that time, people were growing restless with lack of progress made on features that had been promised such as multiplayer. Here we are another 6 months later, and there’s still no word on when multiplayer will be added, just simply that it is in the works. The game has received several updates and improvements, including finishing “routes” for “new” characters (The characters were already present, but now you can date more of them).
And that’s important because really… the game of Stardew Valley is like the game of your life. Stardew Valley’s open sandbox environment and multiple choices and decisions that you will make, all shape what will happen. Will you get married? have kids? Choose a life of adventure exploring dungeons, fishing all day, or focus on rebuilding your grandfather’s farm? Or maybe just sit at the tavern, playing games, and wasting your virtual life – the choice is yours.
Although the game starts slow, once it picks up, there will be numerous choices you must make (which you’ll start to notice around maybe Fall of the first year or so)… Things such as deciding if you want to let fruit bats live in the cave near your farm or if you want to use the cave to grow mushrooms. Hopefully by Fall of the first year you’ve had time and resources to upgrade your house or add new buildings that let you craft new recipes and add new gameplay elements such as making pickled vegetables, fruit preserves, wine, cooking meals from your crops in your new kitchen, etc. Characters at times may also ask you questions which may impact the game or change their friendship towards you, such as asking you what types of books you like to read, etc. Lil bit by lil bit you will begin to see how YOUR farm in Stardew Valley differs from that of your friends’ farms. (Or how it will differ for you on subsequent playthroughs).
There are also numerous in-game events held throughout each season such as festivals, cooking contests, dance parties, and more. If you’ve been working on your social skills in the game and making friends, or even romances, these special events will be even more special, having someone to share them with.
You start with little in way of resources to begin the game and with little to do. When I first started playing, it was tedious. It felt like work, like real life. It was made somewhat worse by bad controls and UI… However now, as my first year in Stardew Valley draws to a close, the game has me firmly hooked. I couldn’t believe I stayed up until 1am playing it lastnight, and I want nothing more than to go home and play it again as soon as possible. — Soon you will be able to take Stardew Valley with you everywhere you go with the Nintendo Switch! For many, this means starting all over from scratch though and replaying through these tedious first few hours of gameplay as I seriously doubt it will sync your game saves — though it would be awesome if it did!
Stardew Valley is slow paced, and definitely not for everyone. There is some combat; however, at least on the PC, the combat is simple and basic at best, and involves no strategy, and just mindless clicking. The controls also make any actions, from combat, to fishing, to farming, a real pain at times. However, despite these flaws, Stardew Valley shines because of the charming retro vibe and relaxing gameplay mechanics. It’s one of the best casual games around and guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy. It is just simply a “Feel Good Kind of Game”.
Gameplay: 6/10 If you’ve ever played a Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game then you will be right at home in Stardew Valley. The basics of gameplay include planting, watering, and harvesting crops, conversing with townsfolk, dating/marrying a townsfolk, upgrading/decorating your home, exploring dungeons, collecting and crafting items, and joining in various events. — It was also marketed as an “Online or Multiplayer” farming game (which drew many fans who have long dreamed of an Online Harvest Moon — however, that feature, which arguably is the game’s MAIN feature, is still no where to be seen and with no estimated release date a year later.
I’m critiquing the gameplay for the PC version right now since it’s the only version I have played as of time of review. While the features of the gameplay would get high marks here in terms of the vast amount of things to see, do, choices and consequences, and customization, the score ultimately suffers due to terrible controls and UI. Please note for this review I play on a laptop and do not use a mouse. I am a keyboard only user. As such, there are some things that just DON’T work. Period.
Like for example, I read that to put bait on a fishing pole you left click the bait then right click the fishing pole, but nothing happens when I do this. Luckily, you can fish without bait, but with some tools you aren’t so lucky. I assume that loading the slingshot with stones also works in the same fashion but can’t figure out how to load it with ammunition either which makes it completely useless to me. At the fall grange faire, the controls for fishing were different than fishing on the main map too! In the main map I can use my button shortcode which is C as opposed to mouse clicking, — this for some reason does not work at the fall grange faire and you have to use the mouse (in my case keep in mind, I’m using my laptop’s “touchpad” which you can click/scroll/operate like a mouse.) —
I have read that PS4 controllers will now work in Steam so I may have to try that and hope they are supported in Stardew Valley. I also do have a usb mouse – but given that I play largely from my bed, it makes finding a place to put the mouse a challenge. I am surprised because quite simply, this is a casual game. If I were expecting to smoothly play a triple A title without a mouse, from my bed, well that would be my own fault for having unreasonable expectations… but the truth is, there’s nothing here that should require finesse or skill.
And it’s not just a little bit cumbersome, it’s that things completely don’t work in some cases as illustrated above at worst. At best, I find myself constantly turning away from my target while fighting in the dungeon, or watering an empty square next to the plant I’m trying to water. Or I’ll forget I have an axe equipped and accidentally kill a crop I’m trying to work with (OK so that last one is my fault 🙂 lol).
The gameworld is not that large, but you walk really slow, which makes it seem a bit larger (Please note for this review, I’m critiquing the default map, not the new ones added in after release). You will also find that you get weak from exhaust and/or injuries easily when you first begin playing, and that even adding new weapons, armor, and accessories, doesn’t seem to speed up combat as much as you might hope.
Despite these weaknesses, the gameplay is actually fun and enjoyable with a wide variety of things to do and see. In fact, there’s often not enough in-game hours in a day to do everything. I love rainy days in the game so I can go fishing or explore the dungeons without wasting half a day tending to my crops. I also love that as you continue to do something in game, such as fish or fight monsters, you gain levels of proficiency with different skills and at certain levels, these skills branch off and force you to choose a path, with different pros and cons, which further customizes your experience from that of your friends – and also greatly adds to replay value.
There could be some other features added that would further enhance gameplay, difficulty and challenge, such as making certain foods expire – would also create need to use the preserve machine — or making for example icecream melt after so many in-game hours. As it stands right now you could buy or grow an item in year one, and eat it 5 years later without risk of getting sick, etc. They could even add a temporary debuff “Food Poisoning” that would wear off after so many in game hours.
Story: 6/10 – Well the story is that you write your own story. You decide exactly what you want to do, who you want to be with, and shape your own virtual life. It offers a ton of customization and the story does branch and reveal different routes based on who you date and other decisions you make within the game, but largely, by the end of the first year, the story has felt weak and bare bones at best. The in-game events do help to spice things up however, I suspect that after the first year they will be less exciting since you’ve already seen them. — However, it makes up for this in the amount of customization, freedom, and exploration that these open world sandbox games are best known for. Watching slowly as your farm takes shape and beginning to set a path for yourself and discover how to make your farm uniquely your own is truly the best aspect of this game, and that will become even more of a big selling point once multi-player finally gets implemented so you can visit friends’ farms.
Characters: 6/10 – Well, there’s a lot of them, but none of them are terribly interesting… They will recycle through the same dialog over and over. In the beginning, as to be expected, many of the characters are distrustful of you (You’re a stranger afterall!), and so they do not talk about anything meaningful or overly deep. Getting close to people, just like in real life, takes time. Relationships take work, and Stardew Valley is no exception to that rule… I have yet to see if the characters, or story for that matter, get more interesting past the first year, but with well over 30 hours of real life put into the game, that’s more time than one should be expected to “wait and see” if things improve.
Right now my highest relationship, according to the fortune teller at the fall grange fair, is with Shane, one of the newly added routes in a recent update. He is sorta the Tsundere type. Rough on the outside. He often plays guitar in the tavern. He likes Hot Peppers, Spaghetti, and Pizza for presents, and he is a cold unfeeling jerk lol. At least initially. I think there may be more to him, which is why I was curious to pursue him. I think his route shows the most promise for “character development” if written correctly. It will be nice to see him warm up and hopefully be less of a jerk over time lol.
Other characters seem to pay homage to various Harvest Moon games, there’s a guy named Linus (not dateable) living in a tent who reminds me of Gustafa from Harvest Moon on the Gamecube. There’s Harvey who is a doctor, Demetrius a scientist (who at time of this review is not dateable), Sebastian who is a stereotypical Emo/Goth guy, Alex a fitness nut, a Magician (I don’t believe he’s dateable either), Clint who is a Blacksmith, and Elderly couple. The tavern workers, a Museum worker, a Carpenter (female), Goth girl, Librarian (female), and a handful of others.
Despite not having much “depth” to the characters (at least after almost a whole year of time passing in game), the characters themselves are charming, and always busy and on the move. They breathe life into the game and keep it feeling active and bustling year round. Not only these human characters, but the animals on your farm, the monsters in the dungeon, and even just little touches like birds and butterflies randomly flying or a squirrel quickly climbing a tree, or a rabbit running through the bushes, they all make the game seem… living. It seems as if every character has a mind of their own and a life of their own. This is a big plus and part of the game’s unique charm.
Graphics: 8/10 – Keep in mind, this is an indie game that wanted to go for a retro-vibe. If you’re not a fan of “outdated” graphics, RPG Maker style games, and Isometric Top-Down view style games, then this is not the game for you. — That said, Stardew Valley is for you if you grew up with the 16 bit Harvest Moon games, don’t mind “indie-retro” games, like to customize the appearance of your character, and like “cute” bright graphics.
Everything about Stardew Valley is exceptionally charming. And there is a lot of work that went into everything from the tile sets used in town or your farm, to the dungeons, character portraits, or animations. As mentioned above, the environment really feels almost like it’s alive somehow, with so many small details and little touches, falling leaves, wind, rain, animals, and background animations that really add to the charm and little extra love that was poured into this game.
I’d like to see maybe a tad more detail on the character sprites, and even more options added for character customization and more interior decorating items, or more various monster designs and not just recolors – but that’s just a wishlist, already, the artwork is pretty great if you’re a fan of pixel style games.
I did take off a few points for the following:
“Shall We Date” is a very popular series of free mobile and browser based Otome Games (Games for Girls) by NTT Solmare. Wizardess Heart is one such game in this series. I recommend this game for anyone who loves Harry Potter (or cute anime games in general). Check out my review of “Shall We Date: Wizardess Heart +” below!
Title: Shall We Date? Wizardess Heart+
Developer: NtT Solmare
Genre: Otome Visual Novel with Dressup Game elements
Price: FREE with optional in-game purchases
Where to Play: