Tag Archives: Spike Chunsoft

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.
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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.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Let’s meet the first round of Ultimates!

Coming out this fall, September 29, 2017, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will be here before we know it.  Until then, let’s meet the first round of Ultimate Students who will be taking part in the next killing game! Upupupu!

Kaede Akamatsu: Ultimate Pianist

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Known as the “Piano Freak”, Kaede has won numerous trophies from piano competitions earning her the title of Ultimate Pianist.  She is positive and puts all her effort into achieving her goals.  She also, “feels a deep resentment toward Monokuma for forcing everyone to participate in his absurd killing game.”

Rantaro Amami: Ultimate ???

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There’s always a mystery ultimate, isn’t there? Will he have super detective skills? Will he be just plain ordinary? Although Rantaro doesn’t know what his Ultimate ability is, he is excited to find out what it actually is.  Glib and laidback, Rantaro is able to press Monokuma for information without being thrown into a panic.  “At times, his attitude suggests that he knows more about what’s happening than his classmates, which only heightens the air of mystery surrounding him.”

Miu Iruma: Ultimate Inventor

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Responsible for “Eyedrop Contact Lenses”, Miu isn’t actually satisfied with her invention because she had to work for it.  “Miu believes that coasting through life is the best way to live it.” She is also arrogant and vulgar making dirty jokes and innuendos every time she opens her mouth yet she is submissive and docile if anyone talks back to her.

Kokichi Oma: Ultimate Supreme Leader

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Kokichi’s Ultimate talent is being the supreme leader of an evil secret organization with a membership of over 9,000 (10,000, actually)! Of course, there’s no evidence such a group exists.  “As a self-professed liar, Kokichi revels in blurring the lines that separate fact from fiction. He has a tendency to say whatever pops into his head, and is prone to theatrical outburst of crocodile tears.” He also displays no remorse for tormenting his classmates.  Evil, dude.

How do you feel about the first four characters so far? Are you excited to get your hands on the game yet? Who is your favorite Ultimate student? Let us know in the comments!

Danganronpa 1.2 Reload (PS4)- Review

Danganronpa 1.2 Reload
(Playstation 4)
$39.99

Despair hits your home console with Danganronpa 1.2 Reload. Originally two separate titles on the PSP overseas, then later ported over to the PS Vita in America, then onto the PC (Steam), and… finally, now on the PS4 as a 2-in-1 game. Danganronpa will be settled on nearly everything (we are just waiting on you now, VR).

For those who have not played the game, Danganronpa is a psycho-pop mix between Battle Royale and Ace Attorney, but as a visual novel, with murder, mystery, investigations, “hope” and “despair” written all over it.  If you haven’t played it yet, you have no excuses.

Porting over:

As a visual novel player, I had some speculations about stepping away from a portable system. I prefer to play visual novels on my portable PS Vita, particularly  because it feels like an on-the-go interactive reading experience instead of a game, but to be honest, Danganronpa on the PS4 is almost a perfect fit.

Graphics:

Danganronpa has always had a unique look for characters, environments, and items in each game combining hand drawn elements with 3D environments; this unique style is what brings players  to the game.

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Moving over to the PlayStation 4, there’s a noticeable difference in in-game details which makes the game really pop on the television. There are a variety of things I missed when I was playing on the PS Vita because I just couldn’t see them. With an HD boost and moving at 60 frames per second, cut-scenes feel more engaging on the big screen and seeing the character details up close looks amazing. New and old players will appreciate the HD boost of both titles.

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The only real downfall I noticed is that the HD boost wasn’t translated in certain spots of the game. For instance, the Monokuma Theater segments looked like they were just blown up in aspect ratio, which made the adorable cut scene, blurry and not as fun to look at. The blown up aspect is painfully obvious and could have used a little more TLC. However, it still didn’t take anything away from the overall appearance of the game.

Story:

Danganronpa, as I said before, is a nice mash-up of themes from Battle Royale and Ace Attorney.

 

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About Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Enter Hope’s Peak Academy, a school only the students with the Ultimate Skills are allowed to enter.  Graduation means guaranteed success in life! Makoto Naegi, the protagonist of the first game, is picked to attend by sheer luck and he  couldn’t be more excited.  However, after entering the Academy things become blurry and wakes up in a classroom.  The windows are sealed shut and surveillance cameras are everywhere.  Is this really Hope’s Peak Academy? He meets up with 14 other students, each with their own Ultimate talent, and they are all just as confused as he is. Monokuma, the headmaster of the school who happens to be a robotic black and white bear, tells them that they must live out the rest of their lives in the school.  There is one way, however to get back to the “outside” world, and that is to commit the perfect murder. Why is he doing this to them? For despair; chaos without reason! Can hope overcome despair? Which side will win? Let the killing game begin!

 

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About Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair
The second game is similar to the first.  This time you play as Hajime Hinata, a student with seemingly no talent whatsoever compared to the other Ultimate students that surround him. Rather than a school, you’re stuck on Jabberwock island -a mysterious tropical island where Usami, a pink bunny rabbit, tells the students to live a peaceful on the island. As the students are ready to accept their joyful life on the island things take a dark turn when Monokuma enters the scene, turns Usami into Monomi (a pink and white rabbit similar to his design), and forces the students to participate in yet another killing game.

For those who have already played Danganronpa before, you’re really not really gaining anything new, except for the chance to get sucked back into an awesome game you have already played about 3 or 4 times over by now. For those who haven’t played the game, this is one of those must-haves if you like dark comedy, visual novels, and problem solving.

Game Play:

I was impressed by how smooth the game play felt.  Where appearing text felt like it was lagging on my portable consoles, the text was practically gliding across my television, enough for me to create a steady pace to the game without missing any details. Another little feature I appreciated was the use of the touch pad to bring up dialogue. It puts that touch pad to use and felt unobtrusive -meaning I don’t accidentally hit the button while I’m playing.2014-02-05-222805

Class trials also run very well.  However, there really is no challenge.  That’s just how the game works in general; I don’t think it’s actually meant to be hard. I put my settings to “Mean” since I’ve played the games at least 3 times already, and trials still run extremely fast.  That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable to sit back and watch how all the intricate pieces of the story connect.  That’s really the true joy in playing the game. Old comers, play the game on mean; newcomers, play on normal and watch the events unfold.danganronpa-trigger-happy-havoc-ps-vita-trial-3-nyanblog

Verdict:

This is a must have-title for any Danganronpa fan, or anyone who enjoys the visual novel genre.

 

For those who have not played a Danganronpa game before, this is an excellent pack to have.  Not only is it a great story, you get both titles in one neat package so you can find everything in one place.  Once you finish one title, you don’t have to wait for the second one! And trust me, you’ll definitely want to see what the next game has in store for you.

If you have already played the games before, the replay value comes from appreciation of the game, and let’s not forget finishing off your trophy collection on the PSN. While some graphics didn’t quite translate well from the portable version to the HD version, the story itself is worth replaying again.  And while you’re at it, watch the anime series, and  wait in eager anticipation for the release of Danganronpa V3!

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Are you a fan of the series? Will you be picking up this sweet bundle for the PlayStation 4? Do you have memorable Danganronpa moments you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!