NCG Review – Mary Skelter: Nightmares (PSVita)

Details

Title: Mary Skelter: Nightmares
Platform: PlayStation Vita; PlayStation TV
Genre: First-person dungeon RPG
Release Date: September 19, 2017 (NA)/September 22, 2017 (EU)
Developer: Idea Factory/Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International

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Story

Jack and Alice live of life of suffering within the prison walls.  Everyday they are taken by the Marchens and mercilessly tortured yet, somehow, their spirit has not broken.  Alice, however, is  close to the brink of insanity.  When her emotional state becomes unstable, her eyes turn pink.  In order to ease her suffering, Jack offers Alice his blood which always returns her back to normal.  One day, they are rescued by a girl with scissors and pink blood.  She claims Alice is a Blood Maiden which is why she has come to rescue her.

Alice and Jack are saved! They are taken back to a group called Dawn that live in the “Liberated District”.  Although, Dawn’s intentions seem questionable,  Jack and Alice vow to help them, and the other Blood Maidens, figure out how to escape the Prison for good.

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The story is fun to play through because there are so many mysteries you want answers too.  For example, what is Dawn and what are their true intentions? You meet another group called the Order, who seem like a religious cult, but you can’t tell if they are good or bad so you want to continue playing to find out.

Between chapters are story-like cut scenes that tell a fairytale-esque story.   The stories allude to what is happening to the characters in that chapter, or at least one aspect of the mystery that you are trying to solve while playing the game.  While not graphically stimulating, the stories are fun to read.

The highlight of the game is the theme.  At lease for fans who really enjoy Alice in Wonderland/fairy tale themes. Character names are taken straight from the classics, for example: Alice, Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, etc.   Even monsters look like they’ve been plucked from a twisted story book.  In addition to the overall look and feel of the game, there are many story telling elements that keep you intrigued. It’s hard to put the game down when you just want to see what happens next!

Characters (3)

Game Play

Mary Skelter: Nightmares plays as your typical first-person dungeon RPG.  You explore the dungeon and try to get to the next event point so the story will progress. What I really enjoy about the dungeon in Mary Skelter is how interactive the dungeon is.  Character abilities help you open up new areas and you must solve puzzles to unlock more areas.  Maps are massive and you can easily spend a few hours lost in one area. This, like every other dungeon crawler, can get very tedious, especially if you choose to go back to HQ and restore your health and re-stock on items.  You might end up wasting more time and energy getting back to the point you left off at.  Fortunately, there is an auto-walk option so you can set your location and the game will automatically move you.  Although the maps are massive and can feel tedious, there are many secrets and paths for you to find and explore.  Another major plus to the game is that you can walk more than 10 steps without encountering an obnoxious battle.  You do get to explore the dungeon to some length before facing enemies.

Since the “Prison” you are exploring is a living thing, the dungeon has three desires: Hunger, Libido, and Sleep.  Each interaction you have in the dungeon (finding objects, covering an area with a lot of blood, etc.) affects the desires and triggers a “Dungeon Bonus Roulette” round where you can get a buff or bonus.

Dungeons (2)

The  point of exploring the dungeon is to find the Core of the dungeon and destroy it.  There are two types of monsters you will encounter: Marchens and Nightmares.  Marchens are the monsters you encounter during a typical battle.  Nightmares are the big boss of the dungeon.  While you are exploring, a Nightmare will randomly try to pursue you.  Without having destroyed the core of the dungeon, you cannot defeat the Nightmare.  If you encounter the Nightmare without  having destroyed the core, you have a chance to run away since the Nightmare will chase you, or you can to try to knock it down and then run away in case you’re stuck in a corner.  Note: try to stay out of blocked areas if you think a Nightmare is headed your way!  After you destroy the core, you can fight the Nightmare and, of course, as per RPG game play rule number 67 (I just made that up, right now) “you cannot escape the battle until the Nightmare is defeated, so be prepared.”

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Battles are all turn based and fighting options are the RPG game play rule number 26 (yes, I just made up another number) standard . You can attack, use a skill, lick (when the option is available), defend, or escape.

Battle (4)

Blood is a central theme to the game.  When you hit the Marchens with critical hits or target their weakness,  blood will splatter on the Blood Maidens (yes, this is going where you think it’s going). When the blood splatter meter maximizes, the girls will go into a Massacre mode where their stats increase and they gain a new skill. This is where Jack comes in.  He is a support character whose sole responsibility in the party is to keep the Blood Maidens from entering the Blood Skelter, and to help keep them alive.  You do not want the Blood Maidens to go into Skelter Mode because they become OP and can potentially knock out your entire team. The blood splatter from the Marchens can get “corrupted”, so it is up to Jack to use a weapon called a Mary Gun to “purify” the girls by rubbing his blood all over them.  And yes, this does go into a physical touch scene (a little bit later in the game) where being rubbed with Jack’s blood purifies them and it “feels so good”.   Keep in mind, there is a limit to how much blood Jack can produce so you need to find a balance between purification and restoring blood.

Blood Skelter Mode (2)

Jack is a versatile support character.  You can use him to purify the Blood Maidens, or he can guard (take damage from the enemy instead of a Blood Maiden), and use items; he doesn’t necessarily have to be used strictly for purification.  As mentioned earlier, during battle the Blood Maidens can “lick” the blood from one another.  This not only clears the blood meter but will come with HP or SP bonuses, or a buff.  The downside to using “lick” is you don’t get to hit the enemies. But,  the Blood Maidens do start to get pretty shy when this happens…

Battle (9)

Equipping your characters is also pretty basic.  Weapons can be upgraded and reach maximum potential.  At the end of each battle you collect Blood Stones which can be used at Dawn Headquarters to upgrade weapons.

Lastly, Headquarters.  You can rest at headquarters, save, upgrade weapons, and buy items.  In addition to the basics, you get to visit the Blood Maiden’s rooms. And yes, you have to give them things in order to gain their favor because it will affect the outcome and ending of the game.  This is my least favorite part of the game because it feels so contrived.  I think the game itself would have been fine without the obligatory fan service aspect of the game.  But, if fan service is what players always want, fan service is what players will get!

Overall, the dungeons have a nice pace to them.  Once you figure out one aspect of a dungeon, the next becomes slightly more difficult with more elements you’ll have to utilize.

Graphics

Graphics aren’t too impressive, however, I love the themes of each dungeon. But, even though the backgrounds move and the themes are fun, when you’re stuck in the same dungeon for over an hour, everything starts to blend together.

Battle graphics are also nothing to get excited over, either.  You don’t get to watch the girls in action, but rather a customized slash. For example, Sleeping Beauty shoots out daggers during a regular attack.

The monsters look like they’ve been pulled from a twisted fairy tale.  Of course, as per RPG developer laziness, monsters in different areas at different levels are all just re-skinned so you encounter the same creature over and over again, just with different colors.

Battle (10)

Audio

The music sets the tone for each dungeon.  My favorite is definitely the initial City Streets dungeon.  You feel like you’re in a fun house, and rightly so because of the maze-like/ wonderland aspect of the dungeon.

Verdict

Pros:

The dungeons are fun to explore.  There are many secrets to discover and a lot of ways to interact with the dungeon through puzzles and character skills.

What I really enjoy is the overall theme of the game.  I’m a huge sucker for fairy tale/Alice in Wonderland themes so it was easy for me to get into the game.

The story feels basic, but it builds up enough that you want to see what will happen next.

Cons:

Dungeons are extremely large and if you aren’t looking at your map, it is easy to get lost.  The repetitious design and large map area  make dungeon exploring feel monotonous and daunting. Especially if you set the game down for a day or so – you forget where you’re supposed to go.

Overall design is not that impressive.  There is variation to the dungeons, but when you’re in the same dungeon for a while it all becomes the same. If you don’t like getting lost in giant mazes this probably isn’t the game for you.

I find the attempt at fan service to be very forced.  I feel like the story is meant to be a dark tale, however, elements are incorporated into the game just so the game can provide fan service which I feel is completely unnecessary.

Score

Overall, I would rate this title an 8/10. Yeah, the dungeons can get tedious (this is a dungeon crawler, after all), but I think the concept and mysteries are enough to keep players interested in the title.

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Here is a recap of everything announced from today’s Nintendo Direct

During todays Nintendo Direct a lot of titles were announced. Although we were waiting for the rumored Smash Bros. announcement (which never happened), we soon found out that the third party support is real for the Nintendo Switch. Here is a recap of every game announced just incase you missed it.

You can watch the Direct and read the details below,


Nintendo Switch

  • Super Mario Odyssey: New information about Mario’s upcoming adventure was revealed during the presentation, including more story details, locations and modes. Additionally, a special hardware bundle that includes a download code for the game, Mario-themed red Joy-Con controllers and a special carrying case will be available at a suggested retail price of $379.99. Super Mario Odyssey lands exclusively on Nintendo Switch on Oct. 27.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: This massive sequel takes place in the world of Alrest on the backs of giant Titans. The journey through the clouds begins when Xenoblade Chronicles 2 lands on Nintendo Switch on Dec. 1. Alongside the standard version, fans can also pick up a special edition of the game that includes a sound selection CD, a special metal game case and a 220-page hardbound art book at a suggested retail price of $99.99. A Nintendo Switch Pro Controller themed around Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will also be available on Dec. 1 at a suggested retail price of $74.99.
  • Project Octopath Traveler (working title): The producers of Bravely Default at Square Enix present a new RPG brought to life through a mixture of CG, pixel art and visual wizardry. Project Octopath Traveler launches worldwide in 2018. But fans can try out a free demo for the game in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch starting … today!
  • DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: Bethesda Softworks is bringing the iconic DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to Nintendo Switch. The fast-paced action of DOOM will hit this holiday season, while Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus launches in 2018.
  • Kirby Star Allies: Revealed at E3 2017, the first Kirby game for Nintendo Switch has some charming new tricks. By throwing hearts, players can recruit up to three enemies to become Kirby’s allies. Whether playing alone or with up to three friends**, mixing up abilities to create new powers is a big part of the fun. Kirby Star Allies launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch this spring.
  • Splatoon 2: Back by popular demand, the Kelp Dome stage is returning as part of a free software update on Sept. 15. A new stage called Snapper Canal and an extra-large Brella weapon called the Tenta Brella are coming in the future.
  • ARMS: A free software update that goes live today allows players to remap the game’s controls to the buttons of their choice, and adds the new playable fighter Lola Pop.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors: Originally seen in the Fire Emblem game for the Game Boy Advance system, fan-favorite character Lyndis (or “Lyn,” as all her companions call her) was announced as part of the sprawling cast of Fire Emblem Warriors. The action-packed game launches for Nintendo Switch on Oct. 20, also available as part of a special-edition bundle.
  • Arcade Archives: Some of Nintendo’s classic arcade games are coming to Nintendo Switch, starting with Arcade Archives: Mario Bros., which launches Sept. 27. Others, like VS. Super Mario Bros., VS. Balloon Fight, VS. Ice Climber, VS. Pinball and VS. Clu Clu Land are coming soon. These arcade games contain subtle differences that can’t be found in their NES counterparts.
  • Snipperclips Plus: Cut it out, together!: This expanded version of the original snipping-and-clipping puzzle game includes more than 30 new stages, new challenges and new features … and it’s coming to stores for the first time! Players who already own the original digital version of the game can purchase all the new content in Nintendo eShop as DLC for $9.99. Snipperclips Plus: Cut it out, together! launches on Nintendo Switch on Nov. 10 at a suggested retail price of $29.99.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The open-world masterpiece from Bethesda Game Studios can be played anytime and anywhere on Nintendo Switch. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launches on Nov. 17.
  • Rocket League: This new version of the popular rocket-powered sports-action game includes all the modes of the original, plus Nintendo Switch exclusives including Nintendo-themed Battle-Cars and customization items. Local wireless multiplayer*** will also be available when Rocket League launches this holiday season.
  • Dragon Quest Builders: The hit fantasy game combines the fun of building with the combat of an action-RPG. The Nintendo Switch version will allow players to ride a Great Sabrecub in the game’s free build mode. The Sabrecub boosts players’ speed and grants them special materials by defeating enemies. Dragon Quest Builders launches this spring.
  • L.A. Noire: Rockstar Games is bringing L.A. Noire to Nintendo Switch on Nov. 14, including all of its downloadable content, new collectibles, detective suits with special abilities, a Joy-Con mode with gyroscopic gesture-based controls and new wide and over-the-shoulder camera angles. Plus, the hard-boiled game will include intuitive touch-screen controls for portable detective work.
  • NBA 2K18: With big game-play improvements and stunning graphics, NBA 2K18 will be a slam dunk for sports fans when it launches on Sept. 15 in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch and in stores on Oct. 17.
  • EA Sports FIFA 18: The most immersive, social and authentic soccer game out there can be played anywhere on Nintendo Switch. FIFA 18 launches on Sept. 29.
  • WWE 2K18: To complete the trifecta of awesome sports games that can be played on the go, WWE 2K18 is also coming soon to Nintendo Switch. Launch details will be announced at a later date.
  • Lost Sphear: This modern take on traditional RPGs from Square Enix is coming to Nintendo Switch on Jan. 23.
  • Sonic Forces: Join the uprising by fighting back as Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic or one of many custom Hero Characters players can create in Sonic Forces, launching on Nov. 7.
  • Resident Evil Revelations / Resident Evil Revelations 2: The Nintendo Switch library will get two creepy survival horror classics when Resident Evil Revelations and its sequel, Resident Evil Revelations 2, both launch on Nov. 28.
  • Flip Wars: Fans that are enjoying the multiplayer fun of Flip Wars can enjoy a free update soon. Once downloaded, the update adds a new stage, new mechanics, local wireless multiplayer, Class Matches and a new online* battle mode.
  • Morphies Law: Players can change their size to change their powers in Morphies Law, a local and online* team-based multiplayer shooter launching first on Nintendo Switch as a console exclusive this winter.
  • Arena of Valor: Explore and command a roster of more than 35 fearless heroes in this free-to-start multiplayer online* battle arena game. With roles like Tanks, Assassins, Mages and Warriors, build a powerful team with friends to crush opponents in real-time battles. The Arena of Valor beta test version will be available for free this winter.
  • Nindies! Nindies! Nindies!: Dozens of indie games are coming over the next few months. These include the underground platforming action of SteamWorld Dig 2 and the golf-RPG Golf Story in September; the four-player** action game Nine Parchments and combo-based puzzle game Battle Chef Brigade this holiday season; randomly constructed sequel Super Meat Boy Forever in 2018; and tactical RPG Tiny Metal launching in the future.

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  • The Legend of Zelda Champions: Four amiibo figures based on the Champions from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa – launch in stores on Nov. 10 (sold separately). Tapping these amiibo while playing the game will summon special headgear for Link based on that Champion’s Divine Beast. Additional functionality for these amiibo will be revealed in the future.

Nintendo 3DS

  • Pokémon Ultra Sun / Pokémon Ultra Moon: The new games feature customizable main characters who embark on a new adventure. An untold story unfolds on a grand scale, where the Legendary Pokémon that steals light, Necrozma, has transformed into two new forms: Dusk Mane Necrozma, who took over Solgaleo, and Dawn Wings Necrozma who took over Lunala. Fans who purchase and activate**** the game by Jan. 10 can get a special gift Rockruff, who will evolve into a Dusk Form Lycanroc, new to the world of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. Fans who download the digital version of Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon by Jan. 10 will receive 12 Quick Balls. Finally, a cool Poké Ball-themed New Nintendo 2DS XL system will launch separately two weeks prior on Nov. 3.
  • White + Orange New Nintendo 2DS XL: On Oct. 6 the White + Orange edition of the New Nintendo 2DS XL system will launch in stores at a suggested retail price of $149.99.
  • Mario Party: The Top 100: For the first time, 100 of the top mini-games from the console Mario Party games can be played on a hand-held system. Mario Party: The Top 100 supports local Download Play, so up to four players who each own a Nintendo 3DS family system can enjoy the game together with only one game card. Take a tour through all the mischief, magic and memories the series has to offer when it launches on Nov. 10.
  • Kirby: Battle Royale: Kirby is about to enter a tournament against his toughest rival yet … himself! The pink puffball’s new game offers a variety of ways to fight in both single- and multiplayer modes. Kirby: Battle Royale launches on Jan. 19. Fans can head to https://kirby.nintendo.com/poll to celebrate Kirby’s 25th anniversary and vote for their favorite copy ability!
  • LAYTON’S MYSTERY JOURNEY: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy: Katrielle Layton, daughter of the famous Professor Layton, is on the case! Detectives-in-the-making that play the game on a Nintendo 3DS family system will receive an exclusive in-game Flora costume. The game launches on Oct. 6.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions: When the game launches on Oct. 6, players will be able to use the new Goomba and Koopa Troopa amiibo – or the existing Boo amiibo – to get additional stamp sheets that offer items in both of the game’s modes. More information about amiibo compatibility will be revealed in the future.
  • YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters: With new content and features, YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters is the definitive version of YO-KAI WATCH 2. The game launches on Sept. 29, but anyone that owns any version of YO-KAI WATCH 2 can download a free “Oni Evolution” software update starting Sept. 14. It adds the Yo-kai Watch Psychic Blasters mode with additional bosses to battle against, the chance to befriend new Yo-kai and more. This update is also required to transfer save data from YO-KAI WATCH 2: Bony Spirits and YO-KAI WATCH 2: Fleshy Souls to the YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters game.
  • Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition: Fans of Minecraft will have another way to play the hit creation game when it comes to New Nintendo 3DS systems. This portable version of the game comes with Survival and Creative modes, five skin packs and two texture packs. Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition launches in Nintendo eShop today. The packaged version will launch at a later date.
  • The Alliance Alive: Nine characters’ paths will converge in this old-school RPG from role-playing powerhouse ATLUS. The Alliance Alive launches in early 2018.
  • Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology: The gorgeous launch edition of Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology will include a collector’s box with an art book and decal sheet. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology launches for Nintendo 3DS in early 2018.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: Starting today, fans of the Etrian Odyssey series can download a free demo for Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS before the game launches this fall.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux: When Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey returns on Nintendo 3DS in early 2018, expect it to do so with new story content, additional endings, a new dungeon to explore and enhanced graphics.
  • Two New Games, Two Beloved Series: The next game in the Ace Attorney series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, launches in November. The action-packed Fire Emblem Warriors game launches Oct. 20 for New Nintendo 3DS systems only.

(Rumor) You might not want to miss the Nintendo Direct tomorrow/ Smash Switch?

(So we usually don’t like posting rumors of upcoming titles, but this caught my interest.)

A few days ago Nintendo announced that they will be hosting a Nintendo Direct on September 13, 2017, which will feature Mario Odyssey as well as upcoming 3DS and Switch titles. The video feed is expected to run for nearly 45 minutes and will kick off at 3 p.m. PDT / 6 p.m. EDT at this link.

Noting the date, fans were quick to point out that September 13th actually marks three years since the latest Smash Bros. release. On the same day back in 2014, Smash 4 landed on the 3DS in Japan.

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Could Nintendo have something planned on the Smash Bros. date, or could this just be fans hoping for a new title? Well I guess we will find out tomorrow during the Nintendo Direct.

 

Sine Mora EX is coming to the Nintendo Switch September 26

THQ Nordic has announced the release date for bullet hell title, Sine Mora EX on the Nintendo Switch. The title will be released on September 26 for the United States, and October 10th Internationally.

Sine Mora EX is currently available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

You can read more details about the game below.


About Sine Mora EX

Sine Mora EX is a side-scrolling shoot’em up that provides a unique challenge, where time is the ultimate factor. Mixing classic shooter sensibilities with contemporary presentation, Sine Mora is a gorgeous shoot’em up offering both a Story Mode that weaves an over-the-top tale and an Arcade Mode that provides deep, satisfying gameplay to challenge fans of the genre. The story mode can be also played in local co-op mode.

Sine Mora EX features:

  • 16:9 Aspect ratio (instead of 16:10 which still remains as an option)
  • Full English Voice Over (Original Hungarian VO is still available as an option)
  • Local co-op for up to 2 players in Story mode
  • 3 New versus modes: Race, Tanks, Dodgeball
  • New challenge levels
  • Improved Rendering

Terra Battle 2 new trailer and release date

Mistwalker has announced that Terra Battle 2 will launch September 21, for IOS, Android and PC.

Players can pre-register for the game but players need to act fast, as pre-reg will end on September 20.

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To celebrate the launch of Terra Battle 2, Terra Battle is getting a brand new Class Z character from Terra Battle 2, “Haruhikari” designed by Kimihiko Fujisaka. Haruhikari will be available starting 9/20/2017 at 5:00PM PDT. Also, users who login to Terra Battle between 9/20/2017 at 5:00PM PDT and 10/4/2017 at 4:59PM PDT, will be given 4 Energy every day. A maximum of 56 Energy will be available over the span of 14 days. During these days, the 4 Energy will be received together with the Login Bonus.

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You can check out the latest trailer, screenshots and info on the game below.


 

The latest release in Sakaguchi’s Terra World series!

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  • Hybrid Style of Gameplay
    Combines a console-like RPG experience with the ease-of-play found in mobile games with intuitive touch based combat.
  • Epic Storyline
    Experience a deep and emotional single-player story campaign that spans over 50 chapters.
  • Brand New Co-op Raid Mode
    Take on a variety of epic bosses with up to 10 players in multiplayer co-op raid battles,
  • Explore A Massive World
    Make your way through labyrinthine dungeons and dangerous lands using the new Field Map.
  • Customize Your Party of Heroes
    Assemble your ultimate team from an ever-growing roster of great characters.
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