Tag: Japan

Balljoint Doll, Dollfie Dream, Dolls, Kawaii Cute, Review, Toy Review, Toys

Doll Review – Volks Dollfie Dream – Dream Choice – Dollfie Dream Brown Skin Boy – Proxy Japan Doll Direct Review

I used Japan Doll Direct to order a Dollfie Dream Choice boy doll in their tan skin. I used website Dollfie Star Choice to view all the different heads and make-up options. Link here: https://dollfiestarchoice.blogspot.com/

I settled on DCH-16 with M01 makeup.

A few things.

1.) It is very expensive. Dream Choice is a system provided by Volks at 2 or 3 of their stores in Japan. You have to either physically visit the Volks stores or use a Proxy – a person living in Japan who can go to the store for you. There are additional fees – because proxys are a type of business model. There are limited heads and eyes and hands and wigs and skin tones available only through this Dream Choice system. read more

Gaming

Japan Legalizes Casino Resorts – Can We Expect Kawaii Anime Casino Games In Japan’s Upcoming Newly Legalized Casino Resorts?

Japan recently legalized “vegas style” gambling casino resorts. One thing that has always been true in Japan is that Japanese culture is all about “cute” or as they call it “kawaii” – it doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, male, female, it’s everywhere. While Las Vegas is associated with glitz, glamour, and sex-appeal; I bet we will see a different type of “theme” overall in Japan’s upcoming casinos. If I had to bet, I’d say we’ll see a lot of interesting kawaii games, kawaii mascots, kawaii marketing/promotions, and lots of games with cute anime girls. Japan’s gambling casinos are still in early development and planning stages, but you don’t have to wait to play games. You can play some cute casino games online right now at http://scr888-malaysia.com/

Konami and other game developers have already made a lot of cute anime slot machines. But until recently, gambling has not been legalized in Japan, so much of these slot machines were developed for other international markets.

What are some Konami, or other slot machines that you’d like to see? I could definitely see Bandai getting in on this action with Love Live, Idol [email protected], and Akatsu style slot machines, maybe even ones that interact with the physical or mobile card games to grant more new cute and rare/exclusive girls.

Could we expect a pokemon game? I bet even big names like Sony and Nintendo will seek to create casino games since it is a brand new market in Japan and just now getting ready to take off.

Here are a few of the cutest anime style games already on the market today. These videos are not mine, but I found them while looking for cute anime casino games. Check them out below.

  1. Chart Topper By Konami –

This one looks like it might be idol themed, given the name, and cute anime girl who reminds me a bit of Jem and the holograms.

2. Win His Hearts Slots –

This is an otome game (game for girls) with dating sim elements, that’s also first and foremost a slot machine. I could see this same concept also working with female characters for male players as well. It’s a great concept. I would play this.

3. Moon Princess

Here is a generic sailor moon rip off type of slot game, similar theme as sailor moon, similar style characters. I bet we can expect an official Sailor Moon casino game, when the new resorts open in Japan. Until then, this is pretty close.

4. Lapis X Labyrinth

This one is a bit more action and roleplaying oriented. I don’t know if it’d work in an actual casino, but I bet Japan will find some way to implement JRPG concepts into at least some of their slot machines, maybe in the form of a bonus round or similar. This one is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

5. Possible Gachapon style slot machines?

While most people want to win money in a casino, could we also see some Gachapon style games that give rare/exclusive cute figurines – maybe as a consolation prize or through certain bonus events? If you don’t know what a Gachapon is, you can check out this video below. Some of the prizes are quite cute and the rare ones are highly sought after, and many are available only for a limited time. – I could see these being used to draw people into the new casinos too.

Regardless of where the future of gambling and casino games go in Japan. One thing’s almost for sure, it’s going to be done in a much more kawaii, colorful, anime inspired way than anything the world has ever seen at any other casino around the globe. I look forward to seeing where the gambling and casino industry goes, and who knows, if some games are popular enough, maybe they will cross over to this side of the pond as well.

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Idol [email protected] Shiny Colors – Japanese Mobile Game Review and Kinda Brief English Walkthrough

I am really into Idol [email protected] Shiny Colors. Unlike other Idol [email protected] Mobile Games or Love Live or Bang Dream, Idol [email protected] Shiny Colors is not a rhythm game. Idol [email protected] Shiny Colors is a simulation game. You are a producer and “hire” idols to work in your studio. You draw the idols from gacha.

Please note – I did not realize this when I played, but on your first 10 play gacha, you get UNLIMITED REROLLS by pushing the YELLOW BUTTON on the left. Once you are happy with your cards press the PINK button on the right. I didn’t know, I pushed the pink button and I only had one SSR. I have been thinking about starting over (and still might) but I think I had some pre-registration bonuses and other things I don’t want to lose by restarting the game. So definitely do not push the Pink button until you have the cards you want.

Collecting and dressing girls is the main appeal of the game. But what do you do once you have a team of idol girls? You can plan their schedule – like a true sim game. You can have them practice, give interviews, or other activities to promote their stats.

The stats also can be increased in a final-fantasy-style skill tree system where you spend skill points to unlock stat-bonuses like +20 vocals, +30 dance, +20 vitality, etc. Depending what “path” you take in the skill tree your girls will develop in different ways.

You have one main girl, and several other backup idols. The main girl is the one to gain from this skill tree system.

Performing a live show is quite different from other mobile idol games. It’s more almost like an RPG battle. You tap a girl’s face below the stage and then tap a “skill” along the left such as vocal, dance, etc. Then a colored bar will appear on the screen, try to time it right and tap the screen when the needle on the bar is in the white color. White will give you the highest bonus. Purple the least, and yellow a medium boost. You can also “link” your girls’ actions to perform together in one attack. On the right hand side of the screen are some other bubbles. i think, but could be wrong since I do not read Japanese, but think that you are competing against other idols, and as you perform these skills you can defeat the idols to the right hand side. But if you miss, you will notice your own idols on the left dropping off the screen. Once all the idols either on left or right are gone, the performance ends.

The artwork in the game is very kawaii, and SSR and higher cards have movie animations, both when retrieving from the Gacha and also when performing a live show. All of the idols are animated with Live 2D which brings the characters to life on your screen. Many of the cards have “multiple characters” on one card, and when performing a live show, or meeting the idols out in town, you may see special scenes featuring the characters all together.

The voice acting and music is also top notch as you would expect from an idol game.

Replay value is high due to limited time events that offer rewards such as gacha tickets and gems.

My only complaint is a lot of the gacha are for paid gems only. However, the gems are fairly cheap, you can get a few hundred gems for under $10 – I haven’t bought any yet.

Will we see Idol [email protected] Shiny Colors get an English release? Probably not. They tried years ago to release some Idol [email protected] games in English and it flopped – however, they wanted $65 for a mobile game – And worst of all, after it flopped, they pulled it down and even if you had paid for it you could no longer play it!!! I wish they would try again but with some of their “FREE” mobile games, either Shiny Colors, Theater Days, or Cinderella Girls. — But my hope is slim… However there are 2 things that give me a little bit of hope. 1.) They seem to understand that there may be English speaking players playing Shiny Colors, when the visual novel aspects come up and the choices appear, they show in English an emoji and English words that say “Perfect” “Good” “Normal” so even if you can’t read the choices you can pick the best response still. And when purchasing diamonds, the currency is shown in US Dollars, not in Yen, which is odd. I’ve literally never seen that ever before in any Japanese games. Which is a nice touch so I don’t have to try to convert it, if I ever decide to buy diamonds. And 2.) I have hope because we are getting more and more and more English idol games, with the upcoming Revue Starlight Re LIVE, or last year’s Bang Dream Girl’s Band Party and Utapri, or the ever popular Love Live School Idol Festival, we continue to receive more and more games in this genre, but we have yet to receive any of the free Idol [email protected] games… Shiny Colors is only a few weeks old in Japan, maybe in a year or two we could hope to see an English release? But it is still fairly easy to play even in Japanese. But it would be nice to be able to enjoy the story! I’d be more likely to buy paid gems if the game was in English.

Scorecard:

Overall Score 70/80 88% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

Geeky: 5/5 – collect virtual waifus. very geeky. And simulation aspects set this game apart from other idol games.

Sweetie: 5/5 – the girls are adorable

Gameplay: 10/10 – finally a true simulation game, similar to Princess Maker or Tokimeki Memorial, you schedule your idol’s activities and watch their stats grow. I enjoy this much more than just a tappy tap rhythm game. Your girls develop in different ways based on your choices and I love that.

Story: 0/10 – I can’t read Japanese so this may not be a “fair score” but until an English version exists I can’t judge the storyline.

Characters: 10/10 – cute, gorgeous artwork, huge diversity of girls.

Artwork: 10/10 – cute, live 2D, SSR and higher cards have full movie animation sequences.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – all of the girls sound so cute.

Music: 10/10 – of course a game about idols is going to have catchy and cute music.

Replay Value: 10/10 – Lots of events, they give a lot of SR tickets and free Gems and the fact that this is a simulation game also adds replay value because the girls change based on decisions you make.

Overall Score 70/80 88% B+ “Very Good Game For Girls”

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Qoo App Is The Easiest Way To Play Japanese Google Playstore Games On Your Android Device

How To Install Japanese Google Play Store Games On Your Android Device With Qoo App Without a VPN or Japanese Google Play Store Account

Collectibles, Deals and Discounts, Dolls, Guides and Walkthroughs, How To, Kawaii Cute, Kawaii Review, Review, Service Review, Toy Review, Toys, Tutorials

Dream Fairy Dolls – A Cheap Body For Dollfie Dream Doll Heads

Dream Fairy Doll Elena
Dream Fairy Doll Elena

Around Christmas time I bought myself a “Dream Fairy Doll” on Aliexpress – At the time it was on sale, $59.99 for fullset. I bought it mostly for the outfit as I didn’t care that much for the face. But I figured the outfit alone was worth $59.99 and free shipping.

She comes with a faceup, shoes, socks, underwear, dress, accessories, 2 pairs of hands, rooted hair head (not a wig sadly), eyes, and even a painted manicure on one set of her hands. And she’s huge at 62 cm.

She was packaged very nicely and the doll and her dress are high quality.

From my understanding, and what other people have told me, Dream Fairy Dolls are not Recast, they are a cheap ABS doll similar to Hujoo but cheaper. I don’t really care if it is recast because I’m pro recast or recast friendly, but I know a lot of people are pro artist / anti-recast. So they should know that (from what I understand) Dream Fairy is not a recast which makes it a good solution for a cheap doll body for anyone regardless of where you stand on the recast debate.

It is no longer on sale, and now ranges $89-$100 for a full set, or you can get just the body for around $35. I would recommend waiting for a sale. Aliexpress has sales pretty frequently. I’m betting some dolls will go on sale in a few weeks for Valentine’s Day or in a few months again for Easter. $100 is still pretty cheap for a fullset non-recast doll. But they have sales like super often. By time you read this it may be on sale again.

The following URLs can help you find Dream Fairy Dolls – or you can do a search for Dream Fairy 1/3 in dolls on Aliexpress.

Here is a link to the doll I purchased on Aliexpress:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DBS-1-3-BJD-Blyth-doll-Name-by-Elena-mechanical-joint-Body-With-makeup-Including/32960394775.html

There are numerous different styles of Dream Fairy Fullsets – here are a few more:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Dream-Fairy-1-3-bjd-doll-62cm-pig-girl-doll-with-outfit-shoes-headwear-cute-doll/32964273604.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1-3-BJD-Blyth-Doll-Mechanical-Seal-Body-With-Makeup-Including-Hair-Eyes-Clothes-62cm-Height/32964741370.html

What I noticed though is perhaps the best / most exciting part about these dolls. While browsing facebook, I came across someone selling a dollfie dream body and I noticed that the neck piece looked similar to my Dream Fairy neck piece.

This got me thinking… Could a Volks Dollfie Dream head fit on my Dream Fairy Doll Body? I decided to try a little experiment… And discovered that yes, it fits without needing any kind of attachment.

Note: Some dolls that are listed as “Dream Fairy” are not Dream Fairy – you have to be careful to read the descriptions fully – for example, icy dolls and Dairy Queen / Diary Queen dolls are often listed as Dream Fairy and they have different neck pieces. When in doubt look for the one in my blog post in the pink dress with yellow hair. It for sure has the right neck piece as of time of this blog posting. Of course manufacturers sometimes make changes to their designs if parts/prices change in the future to maximize their profits or improve their dolls.

For my experiment, I bought the DDH10 head from www.VolksUSA.com – Blank heads are available for around $40. So for under $95 you can basically have a Dollfie Dream. The Dream Fairy doll body probably isn’t as flexible, good at posing, or as stable/sturdy as a Dollfie Dream, but for $59, when the Dollfie Dream is about $400 for a body – the Dream Fairy Doll presents a good option for those who can’t afford a Dollfie Dream.

It is not a good color match, the head I bought was a DDH10 Semiwhite. I wonder if just white would have been better.

Also I am a super bad faceup artist – sorry for my amateur work.

And I couldn’t find my MSC Mr. Superclear – I used a can of krylon topcoat that my grandma had… Don’t ever use it on dolls – in my opinion it dries sticky – Even a week later, and I did stand back and only use short quick sprays – and due to the stickyness – it picks up hairs and dirt. And I think it has a slightly yellow hue. If you look at the back of my head with the neck/body the color match isn’t as bad.

The color match is worse with the flash of your camera… (FYI Flash was on in the picture above showing back of head – and it’s STILL not THAT bad – so I think a lot of the yellowness is from the krylon I used for the sealant.) Here are some more photos with and without flash. You’ll see the yellow hue I mention below.

Anyways, having seen that my experiment in creating a hybrid was a success aside from my awful faceup skills, I bought a custom DDH2 head from Buyee.jp and waiting on it to arrive. They are a proxy bidding service for Y! Auctions Japan, Yahoo Japanese auctions.

Even with the proxy fees and international shipping, it was cheaper than I could find any second hand or custom dollfie heads for in the states. I paid about the equivalent of $108 for the head + insurance/package inspection (could have saved about 6 dollars without the insurance, but it was worth the peace of mind, because if there is a problem, the proxy can communicate with the seller in Japanese to resolve any issues).

The proxy just received my package today, with no issues, and I paid about $20 for shipping and handling – cheaper options existed but this one was reasonably priced and said it will arrive in 2-4 days.

So I paid about $130 for the head + shipping + insurance + tracking — which isn’t bad. If you look on Etsy and Facebook and elsewhere rarely do you see a custom head going for that cheap. Most of the custom heads that I see on Etsy are $200+. Especially if they’ve been heavily modded like mine to have mouth parts or sanding/reshaped.

I will use Buyee again in the future. Also for those wondering, someone told me that the auction was from a popular Japanese instagram faceup artist named doll a holic. Some of you may want to check out their instagram here. https://www.instagram.com/doll__a__holic/

So that’s how I am now the owner of 2 dollfie dream hybrids – I will eventually buy another dream fairy body for the other head – but until then they can easily share the one body. the head just squeezes/slides/wiggles over the neck attachment that looks kinda like a grooved pe— err p–iece of male anatomy 🙂 lol.

PS: someone on Instagram asked me if the hands are changeable – I believe the answer is yes. It came with an extra pair of hands which seem to be using a “peg” system. See photo of the extra hands below:

Will it work with Volks hands parts? I dunno – I am tempted to find out.. I believe it will work with this item which on one end has a long peg and the other end has a ball joint and “square” type attachment, and then you order extra hands that I assume slip over / snap onto the square like piece?

I may buy a few and try out this theory – I will update this once I know for sure if it will work, but looks like a strong possibility just from the photos. – They could probably be sanded or cut and/or lengthened/plumped with clay etc if the pegs are too thick or thin or too long or short.

There are a lot of cute hand attachments. The internal piece and all of the attachments can be purchased from Volks at the following page: 

https://volksusastore.com/webstores/dollfie/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=826 read more

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Idol Master Million Live Theater Days Japanese Rhythm Game Review

Title: Idol Master Million Live Theater Days

Genre: Rhythm Game with Visual Novel elements

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Release Date: June 28, 2017

Where to Get: See Below:

Itunes (Japan Only): https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/…

Google Play Store (May also be Japan Only – not Sure) https://play.google.com/…

How to Get: You can check out my review of Aikatsu Photo on Stage to learn how to get free Japanese Itune items by creating a free Japanese Itunes account. In Aikatsu Photo on Stage, I was unable to help android users locate the game as it does not run on Bluestacks (or any rooted devices). I do not know if the same holds true for Idolmaster Theater Days as well. If so Android users may need a VPN Tunneling Service, which I know nothing about. Sorry.

Also in the case of this game when registering for a new account, be sure you select Japan as your country. This cannot be changed later. You can leave “English” as the language, but this only affects emails Bandai will send to you, and does not affect the language actually in the game – which is sadly only available in Japanese. Later, if Bandai ever releases the game in North America and in English you will have to make a new Bandai account to play the English versions of the game. But we’ve never received a single [email protected] game, despite success of their Love Live series which is very similar, so I don’t think the chances of English localization are very high! 🙁

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Overall: 66/80 83% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Overview: 10/10 – I have a new obsession, as anyone who follows me on Instagram may have noticed this past weekend. Idol Master Million Live Theater Days may just be my new favorite mobile game of all time. It takes what I enjoy about Love Live, Aikatsu Photo on Stage, and Idol Master Cinderella Girls and smooshes them all together.

Graphics: 10/10 – The best part about Theater Days is that the girls are rendered in Live 2D just like Ensemble Stars, Dream Girlfriend, and countless other anime games. This technology allows for very lifelike anime renders. While 3D would feel stiff and 2D would feel flat, Live 2D finds a balance between these two. I can’t get enough of these Live 2D games!! In fact I wish to see the technology used even more, not just on mobile games, but PC and Console Games as well. I don’t know if this technology was used on Nekopara, but the result is VERY similar. The models look more clean than the cel shading technologies used in Catherine and School Days. Live 2D is the best thing to ever happen to anime games. More companies need to take notice.

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Not only do they look great, the girls appear on stage as full bodies, not just a tiny face in a circle like in Love Live School Idol Festival. Aikatsu Photo on Stage also has full bodied — but static — images (which kinda “bounced” up and down at times on the screen). But here, in Theater Days, thanks to Live 2D, the girls dance and sing on stage with unique dance routines choreographed for each song and each singer; and it’s just so incredibly cuuuute!!! I can’t stop playing, watching, and taking like a bazillion screen shots, seriously! Just check out my instagram account lol.

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Music 10/10 – Aikatsu Photo on Stage seemed lacking in the quality of the music compared to Love Live, but Idol Master Million Live Theater Days is at least as good, if not even better, in music when compared to Love Live. The songs are seriously addictive. I really like some of the earliest tracks like “Brand New Theater” and “Sentimental Venus”, but all of the songs I’ve heard have been good. I’ve played and watched the music videos (in game after beating the song at least once), over and over, all weekend. The music is so good, and the girls’ dancing is so well timed with the music. It feels so real, like you really are at a concert. The lights on the stage, the audience, the movement, the emotions, omg. It’s indescribable. There’s also excellent voice acting in the story scenes as well.

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Gameplay 8/10 – And like Aikatsu Photo on Stage and Idol Master Cinderella Girls you can dressup your girls in different outfits. I haven’t figured out how to do this yet. I’ve won, what looks like white, wedding dress, looking rewards from several songs, but can’t figure out how to use them or equip them. But I do see that we can change the uniforms for each member of our party, I just don’t have anything showing up when I go to this menu to change their outfits, except the starting red/white/blue outfits they are given at the beginning of the game. Perhaps the white dresses are materials or tokens to draw new outfits or something else useful and related to outfits. I just know there are costume changes, and the costume changes will be represented on stage when playing or watching / listening to the songs.

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There are also visual novel like elements to the game. I can’t read Japanese, but luckily there is only 1 response / option to select. I’ve only found 2 instances where I’ve had to make a “choice”. The first time was when choosing which starter card I wanted. I picked the girl in the pink sweater with side pony tail. The other time that the game asked me to make a choice was shortly after that, when a new girl is introduced, she has very short hair, sometimes in short pigtails with red ribbons and a green dress. — I think the main girl I had drawn already was jealous of the new girl, I think based on their facial expressions / interactions. My “main girl” and 2 other “starter girls” were in another room talking about something/one when the “new girl” overheard them, and they apologized and got embarrassed. I was presented an option, probably something encouraging the girls to get along. Whatever I picked seemed to surprise the girls. Story went on for a bit, then they all sang together, after the performance, my “main girl” came to me and asked something of me. There were 2 options, and the one I picked seemed to make her happy / satisfy her a bit.

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There will be other chances to interact with your girls, any time you are logged in, you can move around different rooms, and find your girls randomly going about their day. Sometimes they will have an “!” or a “…” bubble above their heads, when tapping on a girl, you can listen to what they have to say, which usually doesn’t even require any feedback from you – and rewards you with XP and the rare/summoning currency.

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You rank up as a producer by completing these “quests” and of course by putting on live performances which is where the majority of the gameplay comes from. You assemble a team of 6 girls. They have different attributes such as Princess, Fairy, and Angel. The song attributes change every day. For example, yesterday the songs wanted Princess, and Today they want Fairy. On my first day of play they wanted “All” which I guess would require a balanced approach. You can have several different teams built and saved up and switch freely between them. It also seems you can have it build the teams for you by hitting the pink “recycle” looking icon, and then choosing the attribute you want. For example, Princess would autofill your highest scoring Princess cards into the team. This doesn’t mean that only Princess members would appear, because you might have a fairy or angel who has high Princess points too. This probably all sounds familiar if you’ve played other titles such as Love Live School Idol Festival.

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Yume Twins May 2017 Unboxing Video Review

I signed up for Yume Twins in May, 2017. The May box had a cat theme with lots of cute (but ultimately "cheap feeling") plushies. As a cat lover, and kawaii collector, it was too good to pass up.

I took a lot of pictures as I unpacked my May 2017 Yume Twins box. Facebook assembled this slide show for me from some of the pics I took. This gives you a good idea of the size, variety, and quality of the items inside the May Yume Twins box.

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Betoyo Anime Figure Subscription Box Launches Website Revival and Lower Pricing

betoyo anime figure nendoroid subscription box
betoyo anime figure nendoroid subscription box

A representative from Betoyo contacted me last week to let me know they’ve recently updated their website and introduced new lower pricing for their monthly subscription box full of geeky anime goods.

I discovered Betoyo when working on my Top 10 Subscription Boxes for Geek Girls Blog Post a few months ago. At the time, their website was outdated, but I could tell from their social media and blog that the site and service was still active. I’m glad to hear about the website revival and new pricing! (and I’ll also go update my top 10 list to reflect the good news).

This subscription box focuses mostly on anime figures, such as nendoroids, capsule toys, and other dolls and collectibles. The new cost is just $28 + $5 Shipping and Handling making it just $33 a month. About the cost of one nendoroid. I dunno if the products are officially licensed or not, but they look high quality and super cute too. I really like this box since I collect dolls and figures such as these. I’m thinking of signing up too when I get paid Friday.

If you want your own Betoyo box check them out at http://www.betoyo.com/

You can check out some of the recent boxes people have received on instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/betoyo/

Action RPG, Game Review, Multiple Endings, Nintendo, Review, RPG, Super Nintendo, Videogame

Seiken Densetsu 3 | Secret of Mana 3 | Secret of Mana 2 | Retro Videogame Review for Super Nintendo SNES Part 3 of 4

Check Out Parts One and Two of our 4 Part Secret of Mana Series

Part One: Secret of Mana Review
Part Two: Secret of Evermore Review

Welcome to Part Three of our Secret of Mana Reviews. Today’s topic is Secret of Mana 3, a game which we never got to experience in North America, but which was thankfully translated by some dedicated fans. You’re probably wondering how you can play this awesome game so here’s a link to the Seiken Densetsu 3 fan translation.

I really recommend that you purchase a physical copy of the game. You sometimes can find it on sites like Amazon. At time of this writing, it is about $160 but it is so worth it. Buy Secret of Mana 3 on Amazon.com

I don’t condone piracy so I’m not putting a link to the rom here. You can find it easily enough for yourself.

I’m really excited to be writing today’s review because this is my favorite game in the Secret of Mana series (although Legend of Mana is a very  close 2nd.)

Title: Seiken Densetsu 3

Platform: Super Nintendo

Release Date: September 1995 (Japan Only)

Genre: Action RPG

Geeky: 5/5 

Sweetie: 4/5 

Overall: 74 / 80 93% “A-. Excellent Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Seiken Densetsu 3 is an action RPG with real-time combat that is part of the Secret of Mana franchise. The game features 6 playable characters. When the game begins it asks you to select 3 of these characters to focus on, similar in a way to games such as Live-a-Live and Saga Frontier. Like Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu allows for you to play simultaneously with a friend. When playing solo, you can freely switch control between the characters, and have the other 2 characters back you up via artificial intelligence. Also like Secret of Mana, there is a ring like system which allows you to equip weapons or cast magic spells.

Gameplay: 10/10 The big differences and improvements over Secret of Mana focus on the leveling and class system. Upon level up the player chooses which stats to enhance for each character and at different levels the player can unlock different classes which each have a unique set of skills for each character, for a total of 5 (counting the starting class) classes for each character, times 6 characters, you have 30 unique classes and unique skill sets to explore. Although the classes are labeled as light or dark variations, they do not impact the storyline in any way.

There’s also a night/day cycle and a calendar system which similar to games such as Final Fantasy XI, gives a magic boost on different days to increase the effectiveness of corresponding magical spells. The calendar system also changes which in-game events occur and even what enemies you encounter.

Story: 8/10 Story has never been this series strong suit if we’re being honest. Despite that, I enjoyed the story in Seiken Densetsu 3 more than any of the previous titles in the series. This particular game has a unique approach to story that differentiates it from the other installments. As mentioned, when the game starts, you select 3 characters to focus on during the story out of 6 total. You also distinguish who your main character will be and this is the focus of the story. All 6 of their stories are intertwined, and to really experience the whole story you need to play the game multiple times using all 6 of the different characters.

Seiken Densetsu’s story is also unique in that it is the first game in the series to begin to establish some continuity between game worlds. In fact, there is a direct sequel for the NDS called Heroes of Mana (which I sadly have not played yet). I also find it interesting how the mana goddess in Seiken Densetsu 3 is a sleeping tree, and the tree is also a main symbol/character in Legend of Mana as well.

Characters: 7/10 Like any game with multiple stories, some are more interesting than others. Character interaction depends heavily on who you have in your party and that does detract a bit from the freedom given to pick and choose your party members. It was interesting in concept, but poorly executed, as more dialogue should have been written in for the other characters as well. – Still, overall, the plot and characters in this game remain much more detailed and interesting than the bare bones plot and characters in Secret of Mana.

Music: 10/10 The music for the game features many symphonic sounding tracks and melodic piano pieces which highlight the different scenes throughout each story. It is a huge soundtrack with over 50 different tracks recorded, making it quite possibly one of the largest soundtracks for an SNES game.

Graphics: 10/10 This game is just beautiful to look at, it really pushes the limits of what was thought to be possible with 16 bit hardware. When this game was released, systems such as Sega Saturn and PS1 had already arrived in Japan and I’d argue that this game almost looks as good as many of the early games for those consoles as well. I especially love the use of color, and the details given to the textures and environments.

Replay Value: 10/10 – unlike other games in this series, Seiken Densetsu 3 is a game which must be played 6 times to see the whole story. There are also significant differences depending on who else is in your party, making it actually possible to enjoy playing it even more than 6 times.

Overall: 74 / 80 93% “A-. Excellent Game for Girls”

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Kawaii Cat Cafe JRPG, 7th Dragon, Heads West with Over 96 Ways to Customize the Appearance of Your Hero

7th Dragon until now, has remained a title only available in Japan, but that is about to change with 7th Dragon III Code VFD on the Nintendo 3DS.

This quirky little Time Travel RPG sees us in a not too distant future which is at war with powerful dragons. In order to save the world from destruction, you must travel to the ancient city of Atlantis, future capital of Eden, and present day Tokyo.

The artwork features chibi super-deformed, bobble head, big head, tiny body style character designs, giving everything a very cute anime feeling. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean. Very Kawaii!:

With the cute art work, and almost endless ways to customize your hero, this game immediately sparks my radar. I admit, I’ve not heard of 7th Dragon until now. I’m somewhat surprised to see Sega’s name attached to this project, but then again, not really no, because they do own Atlus who is well known for “risky” games like this which “cater to Otaku” – I wonder why they wouldn’t brand this title under their Atlus flagship since it has a lot of loyal fans already which they could then leverage to get more attention for this cute little game.

From the very brief teaser, it looks like it will be an emotionally engaging story as well – We see a character sick in a hospital bed for example.

Most intriguingly of all Destructoid reports that “And as if that weren’t bizarre enough, the role-playing game involves rescuing stray cats from dungeons and sheltering them in a cat café.” And if you don’t know what a Cat Cafe is, you can check out my post for 10 Cat Cafe you can visit in North America.

The whole “Cat Cafe” concept makes the game even more Kawaii and immediately appealing to me (and likely also to my readers). I’m becoming more and more intrigued by this little game and can’t wait to check it out.

The game will release on July 2016 and is available for preorder on Amazon here: Preorder 7th Dragon III Code VFD

 

Those who click the amazon link above can read even more of the game’s features – Incredibly enough, it even features a dating sim element. Given that the series originally was created and handled by Imageepoch who made Fate/Extra which plays INSANELY SIMILAR to Persona 3 and 4… I can imagine that THIS dungeon crawling RPG will also be very similar to Fate/Extra and Persona 3 and 4.

The Japanese voice cast has been left in tact, and not only do you customize your heroes’ appearances, but also their voices, with more than 40 voices to choose from!

This game is Kawaii to the Max! Very Otaku Pandering, and very very very cute and quirky. Personally, I can’t wait! BRING ON THE CAT CAFE DUNGEON CRAWLING DRESSUP JRPG! This game is right up my alley!

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Top 10 Subscription Boxes for Geek Girls

Subscription boxes are taking over the internet. If you’ve never heard of such a thing, you must be living under a rock. The basic premise is you subscribe by paying a monthly fee and you get a box full of monthly goods delivered to your doorstep (or digitally in the case of a few subscription services out there). You don’t get to choose the items inside, so it’s like Christmas, or a birthday, opening a box and being surprised every month. How exciting! Of course, you run the risk of not liking what’s inside either though so it’s a gamble. They have boxes for everything from beauty products, to cat toys, dog treats, and yes, even anime and gamer and geeky boxes too.
This post has been modified but not “updated” to introduce new boxes, or remove boxes which may no longer be available on the market – since its original publication in December 2015. When I initially wrote this post, it was based on “second hand” research, such as watching box opening videos, reading reviews, looking at photos, visiting the websites, etc. However, over the course of 2016, I have personally tried and purchased several of these subscriptions. To see some of the boxes I’ve reviewed look here: https://geekysweetie.com/category/review/subscription-box-review/

I would also like to take a moment to give a “shout out” to Boxychan since I did not know about it in my original post below. It is my favorite anime subscription box. I’m currently signed up with their 9 month program at $28 a month. You can read my Boxychan review here https://geekysweetie.com/boxychan-anime-box-june-unboxing-photos-review-monthly-subscription-box-anime-manga-fans/:

And one final shout out to Pusheen Box – I signed up in Spring and am still signed up and expecting the summer box to ship at any time. You can see my Spring Pusheen box review here:

https://geekysweetie.com/pusheen-box-spring-pusheen-box-box-opening-review/ read more

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God Wars, New JRPG Strategy RPG Game, Heads West for PS4 and PS Vita in 2016

Kotaku covered a news scoop regarding Kodokawa’s latest upcoming JRPG, God Wars: Toki wo Koete (translation: God Wars: Beyond Time). You play as a girl, which makes this game highly relevant to my audience here at Geeky Sweetie. She’s a priestess named Kaguya, who has been chosen as a sacrifice to the gods, by her own Mother (the Queen).

People who are quick to criticize weak willed characters, especially females in gaming, will appreciate this lead role, who manages to escape her ill fate, and has a spunky and opinionated personality, enough so that she rebels against her mother, and her kingdom.

She does not just accept authority, from her mother, the queen, or even the teachings of the gods. Instead she sets out on a Journey to find her own answers and make her own decisions.

Japanese history, folklore, and mythology are at the heart of the story. Sawaki Takeyasu (famous for his creature work in Devil May Cry and Okami) will be in charge of monster design once again for God Wars Beyond Time.

Gameplay consists of turn based and grid based mechanics similar to those in other JRPG strategy games such as Shining Force, Final Fantasy Tactics, or Tactics Ogre. Check out the official trailer below.

According to Gematsu, God Wars will feature over 30 job classes, 200 weapons, and 600 skills. Gematsu also provided some more storyline details, stating that the game is intended to blend Japanese fairytales with historical events to reimagine the coming of age of some of Japan’s greatest historical figures.

Gematsu also notes that the characters are designed by Mino Taro (famous for character design in Love Plus) and a narration by Japanese actor Shiro Sano.

 

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    Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines Review for PSVita / PSTV

    Disclaimer: My review is based on the demo version. Sadly, I’ve yet to play the full version but will update this accordingly (if my views change) once I’ve purchased the full game.

    Title: Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines

    Genre: RPG

    Publisher: Alfa System / Sony

    Release Date: March 2015

    Where to Buy: $19.99 on Amazon.com

    Geeky Factor

    Sweetie Factor

    Overall: 64/80 80% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

    Concept: 10/10 The concept here is very fun, you can check out what I think of the Gameplay and Customization below which are really the highlights of this game. The concept is that you and all of your ancestors and descendants have been cursed by someone so that they will live a very short life and also never be able to reproduce normally – instead they must reproduce with gods and demons. The game is fast paced and your characters do die quickly which forces you to keep breeding with the gods to make new clan members. You can pass down heirloom armor and the armor gets new powers as it is passed down. Combat is turn based and there is also a city building element to the game. Read on to learn more about each of these features.

    Story: 6/10 I did not get to see much of the story during the demo; but from my limited play time, it does not seem to be very story driven and seems more like a dungeon crawling hack n slash experience. There is a loose story there; about your family being cursed and only able to live for a max of 2 years (my main character died at 19 months; so they don’t always even make it to 2 years). Your family is chosen by a god to be reincarnated and you are given a chance to learn about and take revenge on whomever it was that cursed your bloodline. The god uses a sacrificial girl with magical abilities named Nueko who can bring herself back to life after she dies. From what I read about the game online, it seems that this Nueko becomes the main focus of the story; and that the story does not focus on your clan or your cursed bloodlines, but instead on protecting Nueko. Because it does not focus on your character or clan, many gamers feel the game is less personal and less immersive, and that their characters are only minor characters to the plot and story. This is just based on hearsay and not my own experience, so take that with a grain of salt too. 🙂 This is actually the 2nd game in the Oreshika series, but it’s the first one we’ve gotten in North America. I’m not sure if the story is at all connected to the first game or not.

    Gameplay: 10/10 Gameplay is really unique in this game. I had a lot of fun in my brief time with the demo. The most unique thing obviously is that your characters live only a very short time so you are forced to mate with numerous gods in the game to create new offspring and once your player character passes away, you select one of your other clan members to take over as leader. Certain gods come and go at different times, and other gods must first be unlocked in various ways (sometimes by equipping certain items or killing X number of monsters etc). The customization is amazing allowing you to customize everything from your appearance, to class, abilities, offspring, and even the town. (you can read more about that under my section on customization). And the combat experience is also fun. There’s a roulette like wheel that appears and will determine what loot is available. You have the option of killing all enemies or just killing the leader. Sometimes if there’s an item you really want it’s best to go straight for the leader, because he will sometimes run away with the loot. You can take up to 8(I think?) characters into battle at once. Some can attack any row, others can only attack front or back row depending on their placement on the field. There’s also 8 classes to choose from each with their own fighting style. Most of the fights I encountered in the demo were too easy/dull but the demo forces you to play on the easiest game settings so I’m not going to deduct points for that. The monsters are visible on the screen and you can avoid combat or sneak up on the opponent to get an advantage. Everything you do advances time by one month. If you choose to mate with a god, one month passes, if you choose to explore a dungeon, one month passes (sometimes more, as you can choose to keep exploring or return home at the end of each month in a dungeon). Because of this, it’s a very fast paced game, and there is always a sense of urgency and pressure on the player to make the best decisions. Also later (not available in the demo) it is said that we will be able to visit other players’ towns and other cities and dungeons too. Taking pictures also seems to be a high focus in the gameplay – I haven’t figured out why yet – there’s even the ability to share the pics you take over social media from within the game. I don’t know if the pictures serve any other purpose though.

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    Graphics: 7/10 The thing about the graphics is that they are VERY stylized; they are intended to represent ancient paintings and scrolls from Japanese history. Therefore, you can notice a very “painter” like feeling to the graphics, including thick brush strokes and uneven coloration. This is intentional; similar to how Ghibli chose to use a similar technique while animating Princess Kaguya. If you’ve ever seen that film you’ll understand what I mean about the artwork in Oreshika. It’s not “ugly” but it’s definitely “different” from what most modern RPGs aim for.

    Also the ability to put your own face into the game with the PS Vita camera can create some pretty ugly characters even if you are average to above average looking yourself lol. Luckily, the characters can also be manually created to get something more pleasing.

    There are some very cute characters. Your servant and guide through the game, a little weasel girl is totally adorable. And some of the gods are sexy / beautiful.

    All of the graphics have a distinctive anime feeling, and there is a huge amount of customization too in this game. (both of which are things I typically look for in games to review here.)

    In battle, the graphics look pretty good, but I think some of the monster designs are rather ugly; (but hey they are monsters after all); there’s also a lot of recycled artwork, that’s been recolored for different monsters; red crab, blue crab, black crab, gold crab, green crab, etc. The special effects and abilities are also not very pretty or impressive in battle, which is a little disappointing.

    Music: 7/10 The music, like the graphics, is intended to invoke feelings of ancient Japanese culture. It’s very asian sounding, which may not be to everyone’s tastes. I personally don’t care for a lot of the tracks used in this game; however, because it is very fitting with the theme and story of the game, I still graded the music fairly high.

    Voice Acting: 8/10 I like the voice acting in this game because they kept the original Japanese voices in tact. Most of them are quite good; I do get confused by the main “God” in the game; I still haven’t decided if it’s male or female – It kinda sounds female, and it wears a lot of pink (maybe because I chose that for my own clan’s color?) lol. In the opening animation, I think “he” was wearing armor that showed off his pecs, so I am pretty sure he is male, but he is very feminine sounding/looking. I don’t care for his voice actor; but I guess a more rugged voice wouldn’t fit his somewhat androgynous appearance. I love the weasel girl’s voice actress she is super kawaii sounding! 🙂

    Customization: 10/10 For sure, customization is where this game shines. You spend a long time initially making your first character, with the ability to either use a photo of your own face to try to generate a character that looks like you; or the ability to manually make any kind of character of your dreams, by selecting from over 20 different hair, eyes, noses, face shapes, and then further fine tuning your selections using slider mechanisms to control placement, height, width, depth, spacing, etc. Then you move on to choose your class and are shown a description of the different fighting styles. I chose lancer; but I ended up having the most fun attacking with my dancer later on. After you make your first clan member, you get to make 2 other clan members to fight along side you. I just went with the pre-generated options here, and selected their classes, but I think (could be wrong) that you can also customize their appearances as well. (but I was tired of customizing and just wanted to play the game lol). Because your characters die easily/quickly (my first death happened at 19 months which occurred less than 1 hour into the game), you must mate with the gods to produce new offspring. The children will take a genetic combination of facial features/hair/skin etc from both their human and god parents. You even have the ability to get demon looking or god looking children or animal children etc in this way; and then their traits are passed down when they mate also. And not only do you get to customize the characters, but also the town in which they live, by investing in different shops or boosting different aspects of the city, and inviting new shops, and unlocking new items, or new activities that you can undergo while in town, So really the customization is amazing in this game. It’s what makes the game so much fun.

    Overall: 64/80 80% B- “Very Good Game For Girls”

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