Tag Archives: Spike Chunsoft

NCG Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (PS4, PC, Switch)

I’m not a Pixel Junk junky, but I have to admit, Pixel Junk Monsters is one of the funnest, yet most infuriating games I always find myself jumping back in to.  I was thrilled to see a follow up was coming out.  Does Monsters 2 exceed it’s former counterpart?PJM2_SS10

Gameplay

Please note: the game calls them “chibis” but I will always, and forever, call them tiki babies.  This term will be used throughout the rest of this review. Just saying.

The point of the game is to protect your tiki babies at your base from the swarm of monsters trying to attack them.  In order to do this, you must build an arsenal of defense towers to kill the monsters before they are able to get to your base and eat the tiki babies.

The game relies entirely on strategy. There are different types of defense towers that need to be used against certain types of monsters (i.e. ground, air, air/ground).  During the swarms, you’ll need to plan your line of defense and build based on the type of monster that will be coming or which monsters you know will be coming. Building is limited since you need to collect coins and gems in order to build the defense towers. You can collect these by wandering through the trees or gather them after a monster has been killed.  During raids, you will also need to upgrade your towers.  You can do this by using a gem you’ve collected from a monster or stand on a tower to level it up – the stronger the tower, the stronger the defense! You have to work between building, upgrading, and preparing for what is coming.

Two-player co-op was an option of PSP players who each had their own PSP, but Monsters 2 allows for co-op on one screen for up to four players! This can get slightly chaotic since players need to be within a certain proximity to player 1, but it allows couch cooperation -you definitely need to communicate with your team to know what you plan what you need to build next, where to upgrade, where to invest your coins/gems.PJM2_SS14

With the addition of up to four player co-op, there are new features to use within a level.  If you have enough gems you can purchase a fruit (during a raid) that temporarily buffs up your character.  On top of that, there are interactive items in the level, such as boulders, that you can use as a backup line of  defense.  The game also throws in some challenges at you for certain. For example, you won’t be able to collect coins from monsters throughout a raid.

Aside from the game play additions, there’s a really fun cosmetic feature that allows you to change the mask and shield of your tiki man.  You can purchase masks by collecting coins after completing a level.

Graphics

The most notable graphic difference from Monsters is 3D graphics which creates more dynamic levels.  Rather than an overhead view, you get to explore the area. Otherwise, not much has changed in terms of character or monster design.PJM2_SS9

Audio

What makes this game so easy to get in to is the relaxing audio track. The tracks are similar to the original Monsters which brings back waves of nostalgia (if you played the original).  The track will change when the final monster approaches, but not to the extent where you feel stressed to build your towers -only to defend your precious tiki babies!

Verdict

Pros: The game is addicting, fun, and easy to pick up.  Despite getting furious when your tiki babies get eaten, you’ll still jump back in to the level with a different plan of attack.

Cons: I know I shouldn’t complain much, but the new levels feel less challenging compared to the predecessor.  After about one unsuccessful raid (meaning only 1 tiki baby was eaten), it was easy to grasp where you needed to build and what needed to be leveled up.PJM2_SS6

Although there is an option for multi-player, only player one gets to modify their character with a new mask and shield.  It’s almost unfair if you’re stuck being player 2.

Overall, I rate Monsters 2 and 8/10.

Score

If you like Monsters, and Pixel Junk games, this is definitely worth the buy.

Do you have a favorite Pixel Junk title? Let us know in the comments!

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PixelJunk Monsters 2 Demo for Switch coming soon to NA and EU

Sure, Switch players might have felt a little left out when the demo for Pixel Junk Monsters 2 was delayed, but the wait is almost over.  The Switch demo will release in NA on May 25th and the EU May 30th – the same day of release.

Unfortunately, if you were planning on getting the DLC immediately, there will also be slight delay.  No official release date has been announced for the DLC, but it will be out “as soon as possible”.

DLC packs will be:

  • Golden Outfits Pack – Free until June 7, Dress up Tikiman in golden outfits and masks!

  • Encore Pack – $4.99, Take on a new stage, Encore Peak, with the new missile tower!

  • Danganronpa Pack – $4.99, Enroll in a new challenge with the new Danganronpa-themed Hope’s Peak Academy stage and the new Mana tower! A certain headmaster has filled all the monsters with despair, and even Tikiman can get some beary familiar masks for himself!

Are you a fan of the PixelJunk Monsters game?  Do you have a favorite PixelJunk game? Let us know in the comments!

PixelJunk Monster 2 announced for PS4, Switch, and Steam

Publisher Spike Chunsoft and developer Q-Games have announced PixelJunk Monsters 2. The tower defense sequel will launch digitally for PlayStation 4, Switch, and Steam on May 25 for $14.99.

Here is an overview of  PixelJunk Monsters 2:

About the PixelJunk Series

In 2007, Q-Games released PixelJunk Racers. Since then, the series’ popularity has grown internationally and Q-Games has released several celebrated PixelJunk titles with genres ranging from arty platformers to hard-core side-scrollers.

About PixelJunk Monsters 2

In the acclaimed tower defense series’ first ever official sequel, play as Tikiman and build towers to defend your Tiki Hut from the monster hordes. The sequel brings with it four player online co-op, new and sometimes quite explosive fruit bombs and on top
of that the game has been fully re-imagined in beautifully detailed 3D. Get ready to defend your Chibis again in this fun and addictive game for all the family.

Key Features

  • Local & Online Play – Maximize the fun by playing with your friends on the couch or with up to four players online!
  • Close Encounters – Multiply the suspense by toggling your POV from top-down to an in-your-face view!
  • Fluid and Detailed Graphics – Immerse yourself in an all new world like never before as the HD animation breathes life into Tikiman and the unique maps!
  • The Mask Makes the Tikiman– A mask for any occasion! Customize Tikiman with different masks and shells.

NCG Review – Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony ( PS4/PSVITA )

Details

Title: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Genre: Interactive Visual Novel
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: September 26, 2017 (NA)

 

Story

I would LOVE to do a segment on the story, however, this is one of those titles where I definitely don’t want to ruin it for everyone. Maybe in the future when it’s really eating at me… We shall see.  The game has been released in Japan since the beginning of the year, but if you’ve stayed off the internet what happens will be, like all Danganronpa games, a twisted ride.

What I really enjoyed about the plot line is that it is not centered on Despair, rather, there’s an overwhelming theme of identifying the truth.  Whether it be trusting what you see, political or religious beliefs, what is presented to you by the media and what you yourself experienced, there’s this underlying desire for truth and a need to uncover it through all the deceit around you.  And yet, even if you reach a truth, there are many lies still circling around it.

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Getting into the title felt difficult because the cast is initially off putting but as you go through the story, characters really start to grow on you.  Heck, I even think Keebo is pretty cool.  Character personalities tend to take a drastic turn, and while they develop to some extent, sometimes they fall flat into a character arch type.

Despite all the tragedies that occur in the killing game, there is still a good balance between humor and horror. With all the pop-culture and nerd references peppered throughout the game, there are still a few laughs mixed in with the tears. What? No… I didn’t cry!

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Gameplay

With Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony, gameplay is pretty much the same as previous titles, but with a few new twists.  The pacing of the overall story is similar to past titles: Free time, Investigation, Class Trial. This is nice because you feel right at home in the Danganronpa world; you already have a good “feel” for the game.  When you get into the class trials, you are prepared for all of the changes that will be thrown at you.

If V3 is the first title in the series you are picking up, tutorials will guide you through the debates.  They are not overwhelming or excessively annoying.

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The class trials run similar to previous games where you play mini-games to uncover the Blackened but most mechanics for the mini games have been upgraded.  Non-stop debates offer more stylish text effects that can throw you off. Text also interferes more often with statements.

In addition to the basic non-stop debate, you have the ability to lie.  This replaces taking a statement and using it against a classmate.  I found the lying aspect to be humorous.  Mostly because the protagonist is such a terrible liar!

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Another addition to the non-stop debates are the Mass Panic debates. You need to find the inconsistency and shoot the contradictory statement… with three voices talking at once.  Not only is there text flying in all directions, voices talk over one another.  Throughout the Mass Panic Debates, sometimes one voice will be louder than others and will need to be shut down in order for you to hit a contradictory statement (if there is one present) from another speaker.

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Hangman’s Gambit has evolved to Hangman’s Gambit Ver. 3.0.  Instead of selecting visible letters floating across the screen, all letters are hidden.  The board will occasionally light revealing the letters, but it is difficult to discern the word you are looking for without all given letters visible.

Psyche Taxi takes over Logic Dive.  You must drive and hit letter blocks to reveal the question, then you pick a lane to answer it. This was my second least favorite mini-game.  I had more fun and more of a challenge doing the Logic Dive from Danganronpa 2.

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The Rebuttal Showdown, where you slice words with a sword, is still present but the controls have become more clunky and difficult to control. This is because you have to use your joystick to move the sword rather than the Vita touch screen.  It was much easier to swipe the words away than to line your pointer up with the letters.  This definitely made it much more challenging.

Argument Armament has replaced the Panic Talk Action.  Argument Armament is the same concept, but also incorporates more rhythm game mechanics. Panic Talk Action was always my least favorite mini-game during class trails, so Argument Armament also takes the title for my least favorite mini-game of DRV3.  I love rhythm games, however, I always struggle to find the beat or the right pattern for the debate which makes my timing completely off the mark.  Argument Armament also “strips” the character down, so each successful hit takes off a layer of clothes… Do we really need to keep stripping down every damn anime character?

There are two mini games added: Mind Mine, where you will need to clear away all the blocks to reveal the board and select the correct object out of the three presented to you.  There is also Scrum Debates.  Scrum Debates happen when the class is divided in opinion.  As the opposing side presents their argument, you need to find the keyword of their statement to counter their opinion.

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What makes the mini-games more interesting compared to previous titles is the Casino.  During Free Time you have a chance to visit the Casino and re-play some of the mini games.  Plus you get the slot machine; it’s just like gambling in real life -you hardly win big!  The coins you win from the mini-games can be exchanged for gifts.  The Monomono machine is also still in the game.

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Graphics

I played this title on both consoles.  While I definitely prefer the comfort of handheld systems, playing on the PS4 brought the game to life.  Generally, visual novels aren’t graphically stimulating.  Playing on the PS4 made a noticeable difference for class trials. The frame rate runs much faster, and the layers of  characters and text make the scenes feel more interactive.

One thing that really jumps out is how bland the overall color scheme of the game is.  Compared to previous titles where colors are vibrant and eye-catching, DRV3 uses a lot of blues and purples.  I think this gives the game a darker tone, but also doesn’t make the title jump out the way its predecessors have.

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Audio

What I love about Danganronpa is that when you hear the soundtrack, you definitely know you are playing a Danganronpa game.  DRV3 brings in old favorites with a new mix that perfectly fits the overall tone for certain areas you explore.

PS4 VS Vita

I am always right at home on a handheld.  I find it much easier to get into a game if I have the convenience of playing it wherever the heck I want to.

That being said, Danganronpa being available on the PS4 and Vita was something new.  I haven’t really picked up visual novel titles for anything but a handheld and I always have a hard time getting into them if they’re not on a handheld system.  However, I recommend playing Danganronpa on the PS4. Not only did I get a bigger screen to watch the action of Danganronpa unfold, the class trials really stood out as a new experience.  Frame rates were much higher making the pointer a bit harder to control on the PlayStation 4 system, but the layered text effect and motion across the screen really  made the game feel more up close and personal.

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Of course, I still played the majority of the game on my Vita since I am out of the house more often than home but I definitely noticed the slight change in graphics and the slower frame rates made a huge difference in the overall feel of a class trial.

Keep in mind, if you can’t decide which system you want it for, buy the title for both consoles! It’s easy to cross save your game and switch between portable and stationary.

Verdict

Pros: Sprinkled with humorous pop culture references and being the same ol’ killing game we all love, DRV3 always keeps you guessing until the very end.  You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; and maybe you’ll sit in disbelief for an hour because how could that character die?!  Despite this being the 3rd entry of the High School Killing game (Despair Girls and Future Foundation don’t count) there are still many surprises thrown at you.  Even if you know the formula, from beginning to end you still can’t predict what will happen next.

There are plenty of new game play styles for class trials.  I think developeres did an excellent job making something feel old, yet still be entirely new.

Graphics on the PS4 give you a different game play experience compared to a handheld, but cross saving options will let you jump back and forth between systems.  That is, if you want to throw down the extra cash.

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Cons: This is mostly my fan opinion, but this is my least favorite entry to the series.  Characters were difficult to warm up to and fell flat in the end. The ending didn’t feel quite as moving as previous games.

During class trials, the pointer can be extremely difficult to control.  Being unable to control the cursor made some class trial aspects feel tedious and just straight up annoying.

The color scheme is muted, so the title does not pop in ways the previous titles have.

I would love to give Danganronpa a 10, but I am going to have to take it down to an 8.  Characters were hard to warm up to, the story doesn’t feel entirely compelling, and while some of the mini-games have been upgraded some of the controls felt clunky.

Score

This is a must-have for all Danganronpa fans.  Not only do you see what is happening in the Danganronpa world but also because of how the game itself has evolved as far as mechanics and story.

Which is your favorite title in the Danganronpa series? Have you picked up V3 yet? Have you encountered anything that took you completely by surprise? Let us know in the comments.

Zero Time Dilemma is coming to PS4 this Fall

During Anime Expo 2017, Spike Chunsoft debut a trailer for Zero Time Dilemma for Playstation 4. Previously released for PSVita, 3DS and PC the Playstation 4 version offers further refined graphics compared to the PC port. The title will launch this fall in the US.

Here is a quick overview:


About

The experiment wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Nine participants awaken in an underground facility, imprisoned with a strange black bracelet on their wrists. To escape, they must play a game with deadly consequences. The rules are simple–after six people are killed, the escape hatch will open. Who will live, and who will die? The choice is yours. Let the Decision Game begin…

Key Features

  • Think Your Way Out – Explore 3-D environments for clues to solve mind-bending puzzles and escape your prison.
  • Decision Game – Question your morality in a series of life-or-death decisions where even the best option carries horrifying implications.
  • Cinematic Gameplay – Fully voiced and animated story sections push the boundaries of interactive fiction.
  • Non-linear Narrative – Jump freely between events and characters to piece together the fractured narrative and unlock multiple endings.
  • Old Faces, New Mysteries – Characters from the award-winning Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue’s Last Reward are joined by a new cast of participants to bring first-time players up to speed and conclude the series for longtime fans.